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Publication “Voices for change. Methodological guide for consulting children, girls and adolescents who are in residential care” by Pepa Horno and F. Javier Romeo for UNICEF Spain

Portada de la guía "Voces para el cambio", by Pepa Horno and F. Javier Romeo, for UNICEF Spain

The modification that was made of the Law of Protection of Children in Spain with the approval of the law 16/2015, later reinforced by Law 8/2021, the 4 June, of Comprehensive Protection of Children and Adolescents against violence represents a challenge for the protection system in many ways. But there is one especially relevant: guarantee the full implementation of the right to participation of children, girls and adolescents under protection measures. A challenge in which very significant progress has been made in recent years, but that is still far from being a reality.

Phone Voices for change. Methodological guide for consulting children, girls and adolescents in residential care, published by UNICEF Spain, aims to be a methodological instrument to achieve this challenge. Its objective is to propose a methodology to carry out consultations with children, girls and adolescents in residential care. A methodology that considers the specificities of this population in order to guarantee legitimate participatory processes, meaningful and protective. A methodology that raises the consultations as one more element in a process of internal transformation of the protection homes until reaching a greater degree of protagonism of the boys and girls over their own lives.. And a methodology that can then be adapted to different query objects.

But above all it aims to provide a tool to professionals, entities and institutions of the protection system that decide to evaluate their work to increase its rigor and quality. Children, girls and adolescents are the recipients of the work of the protection system. Therefore, any evaluation process, improvement or quality that you want to promote will not be legitimate if it is not part of the needs assessment and proposals for improvement that the children themselves, girls and adolescents carry out.

Sometimes you don't wonder because you don't know how. Sometimes because you are afraid of the answer. The guide we have developed Pepa Horno and F. Javier Romeo aims to remove the first of the two obstacles. Winning the second is already an institutional and professional decision of the protection system in each autonomous community, and the management and educational team of each foster home.

Here we have the recording of the session:

We hope that the guide will be useful and that you will find us at the presentation.

Pepa Horno and F. Javier Romeo

Online presentation of the publication “Voices for change. Guide for consulting children, girls and adolescents in residential care” made by Pepa Horno and F. Javier Romeo for UNICEF Spain on 6 October 2021

Imagen de la convocatoria de la presentación de la guía "Voces para el cambio"Online presentation of the publication Voices for change. Guide for consulting children, girls and adolescents in residential care, prepared by Pepa Horno and F. Javier Romeo to UNICEF Spain within your program Child Friendly Cities.

Date: Wednesday, 6 October 2021, the 10:00 a 11:30 (Madrid schedule).

Place: online.

To register it can be done for free at this link.

The approval of the LOPIVI: celebration and memory

Front page of the Congress of Deputies website that includes the BillThis week has been a time of celebration for all good people, for whom we consider children, girls and adolescents full citizens and a little more if possible for all the people who work, one way or another, in the field of protection: the approval of the Organic Law Project for the comprehensive protection of children and adolescents against violence (LOPIVI) by the Congress of Deputies in Spain. [Update: The Law has already been published and will take effect in a few days, with the final name of Organic Law 8/2021, the 4 June, comprehensive protection of children and adolescents against violence].

Throughout these almost twenty-five years that I have been working for the prevention and eradication of violence against children, girls and adolescents I have lived many things that, as I have commented on social networks, these days they crowded in my heart. And they all had to do with the path traveled, with the amount of things that we take for granted today, by logic, for known and what, as in any other movement for social change, son, however, the result of a very long work over time. A job that, When did it start, it seemed just like preaching in the desert, crazy, an impossible.

When I I started working on this issue, there were already people fighting to make violence against children visible, and adolescents. There was already a legally constituted protection system in Spain that was beginning to evaluate its operation. The Platform of Organizations for Children it was already constituted. There were already organizations and entities that had been working on this issue for a long time. Y, especially, there were many professionals already attending to the ultimate protagonists of this law: children, and adolescent victims of violence.

But everything that existed was perceived as people, organizations and entities serving a vulnerable group, scarce, unlucky, victim of some crazy people, sick, strange and, especially, very far from people's daily lives. “This in my house does not happen, this does not happen in my neighborhood, that happens to the poor, crazy or sick people do it”. “Poor little”, they said in the best of cases. “It is impossible, you invent it”, in the worst case. As with other victims of violence.

I want to count four examples that for me explain very well where we come from, and all the work that has been necessary to achieve the social change that would legitimize and make this legislative change possible.. Because it is so, a law never goes ahead if society is not prepared. And if you force, and is approved before that social change, the legal norm is attacked and questioned until its repeal or ignored and not implemented. Especially in the case of laws that address human relationships, not administrative or institutional, but human relations in any of its aspects. These laws must be incorporated by society to be implemented. The best example I can think of right now is the anti-smoking law, that required a brutal investment in social awareness to be implemented. When it was approved we were many people who thought it would be impossible, and now we fly in a plane, let's go on the train, we sit down to eat or go dancing without filling ourselves with smoke. And it seems normal to us. It seems obvious to us.

The first example that came to mind on Thursday was the day we published the first report that was produced in Spain on physical punishment of children at home, The document Love, power and violence. A Comparative Analysis of Patterns of Physical and Humiliating Punishment. Year 2005. That day I was coming home on the subway after the press conference and all the interviews. That was the first of all the press conferences that we had called until then since Save the Children for issues of violence in which the presence of the media was massive. Until then, two or three journalists came. The topic was not news.

That day I was coming home on the subway. It must have been nine at night and the topic had already appeared on the noon and night news. In the car where he was traveling, a very strong discussion broke out among a large group of people. But it wasn't really an argument. All agreed, and they agreed that we were crazy who presented the study, in what, course, children had to be beaten when necessary, that “But, they did not obey” and what had to “put them on the sidewalk”. That NGOs and psychologists wanted to tell them what to do with their sons and daughters, that “they were his” and that also the figures that we gave, sure that “we invented them”.

Portada del material de la campaña "Educa, don't hit"I speak of the year 2005 when we had already been working on the issue since the campaign “Educate, don't hit” statewide since the year 1999. They were years of campaign, training families and professionals in small towns and cities across the country, with a team of thirty people working directly on the issue, and many other institutions and organizations supporting the process and collaborating.

We train thousands of people. I remember when I was preparing that group of people who were going to have to give the courses, conferences, the interviews, I always told them: “Keep in mind that only if they feel the need to discuss what you say, to counter-argue, it's enough, because it will mean that you have cast doubt on something that is so ingrained socially that people do not even consider questioning. They take it for granted that they have the right to beat their children to educate them. It has always been done like this. Just sowing doubt is progress”. So it happened. They discussed us, even in some case they insulted us, they laughed at many of us, but we continue. And the doubt settled.

Folleto de la campaña "Corregir no es pegar"A second awareness campaign was needed against physical punishment of children in the family: “Correcting is not pasting”. And by the way one of the measures that was proposed in that campaign, for me not the most relevant but necessary, It was the modification of an article of the Civil Code. Not a law. An article. It took eight years of work to achieve it. Arrived in the 2007. And still today, there are people who do not doubt their right to hit and yell at their sons and daughters if they deem it necessary. But it's not obvious anymore, it is no longer a majority, it no longer seems so clear. We are on the way.


Second example, the elaboration of model of action protocol in cases of child abuse promoted by the Childhood Observatory of the Ministry of Social Affairs. Year 2008 (then successive modifications and improvements were published until the year 2014, what is current). It was developed in a working group that met for a year and in which for the first time representatives of the judicial field sat at a table with the social field, the educational field, the police field and the health field. Representatives of the Autonomous Communities and of all the fields that we intended to develop a protocol model that could serve the Autonomous Communities to promote their own protocols in the different territories, how it happened. I have lived those meetings again at the regional level in several autonomous communities. But I remember perfectly the difficulty of being accepted as a valid interlocutor without being a professional in the legal field. And remember, Among many other things, the discussion to ensure that the proposal be included in the protocol that compensation in convictions for cases of child abuse would not be calculated using the scales that were used until then, the ones about car accidents, but they could cover the cost of the therapeutic treatment that he would need (or that he had already needed depending on the years elapsed before the final judgment) that child to recover from the trauma that had been inflicted. Because let me remind you that neither then nor now is public and free treatment guaranteed to all children who are victims of any form of abuse.. In some autonomous communities yes, in others only those children, girls and adolescents who are victims of abuse in the family environment that leads them to a situation of vulnerability, in others not even that. I remember doing on that table the generic calculation of the number of minimum sessions multiplied by the cost officially established by the Official Associations of Psychologists per session. A figure that was much higher than the established scale. And just to pay for the treatment. The measure was included, and many prosecutors in their proposals and many judges in their sentences incorporated it. Many others continue to use the car accident scale, because it is the one that has always been used. We are on the way.

Third example, when in the year 2006 We also published from Save the Children the first investigation that was carried out on Attention to boys and girls victims of gender violence. The first. The first time they were called direct victims. No “witnesses”, ni “secondary victims”, but direct victims. An investigation that took two years of work by a team of incredible people that I had the honor of coordinating. One of those investigations that marked a before and after and a line of work that the organization has followed until the legislative modification of the Organic Law was achieved. 1/2004 of Comprehensive Protection Measures against Gender Violence in which children were recognized, girls and adolescents sons and daughters of women victims of gender violence as victims of that violence just like their mothers. Was in the year 2015. Were needed 9 years.

In that investigation very serious issues arose, but above all, when it was published, we had to listen to things like children, and adolescents “They were only witnesses”, that “They were not beaten”, that “They could not find out” of what his father or stepfather did to his mother, or if we recognized them as victims “Women would lose the resources they had to care for them because they would give them to children”. I remember that one of the measures requested in that investigation was simply that a box with the information on the number of sons and daughters the women had on the forms of protection orders. Their age was recorded, your country of origin… lots of facts about women. But nothing about his sons and daughters. We did it. With a nuance: that for years, this data was not included in the statistics that were published on the subject. That first investigation was the beginning of a very hard process to achieve something that is still a pending issue in many places and is the need for Equality and Childhood interventions to work hand in hand. We are on the way.

Conducting research, not only from an academic perspective but from the perspective of professionals in the field, has been a key part of this process of making violence against children visible, girls and adolescents and the deficiencies that exist in the system when it comes to attending to the pain of the victims. There have been two subsequent investigations that I have had the privilege of coordinating since CI Spirals With F. Javier Romeo, on various aspects of the protection system that have played a key role in the legitimacy of the legislative change process. On the one hand, the one made for UNICEF Spain about childcare, girls and adolescents in residential and family care in Spain called A place to stay, in which several of the problems exposed in the justification of the bill clearly emerged.

For another, the one made for SOS Children's Villages Spain with the title Arrive on time. Children, girls and adolescents at risk in Spain. Both investigations have been other steps on this path. The path of giving visibility to the different problems that LOPIVI intends to respond to from the analysis of daily practice from a child rights perspective.


And a last example, for me perhaps the most painful. Throughout these years Spain, like the rest of the countries that have ratified it, is obliged to submit a report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child on the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CDN). As each country, Spain presents its report at the government level, and NGOs, associations and entities can present their alternative reports. In Spain it is carried out by the Platform of Organizations for Children jointly. A much more complicated job than people can imagine, but absolutely essential in which I was able to participate twice. In these reports presented by the government, the statistics published by the INE are collected. (Statistics National Institute) on deaths in Spain, in this case of children, and adolescents in our country. The problem is that the data is collected by causes of death and, as such, disaggregated: you have to add several sections to know how many children, girls and adolescents have died of violent causes in our country. But it is not only necessary to add the boxes corresponding to violent deaths. Because among its causes are the murders, homicides of boys and girls, suicides and a very scary category of accidental assault deaths, that are categorized this way because many times it is not known who produced the aggression or if it was done intentionally (we talk about burn deaths, stabbings, shooting or poisoning). Every year that number hurts me, so in the year 2014 I posted a blog post that I called “Counting our dead, also when they are boys and girls”. I posted it on my darling's blog Xosé Cuns “Do not ask me calm”, collecting data from 2011 contained in the last report presented by the government to the Committee. I thought that article would generate controversy, but it was not like that. And it should have generated. Because the figures are scary. The Complete Record of Violent Deaths of Children, girls and adolescents in our country continues to be a pending account to which the LOPIVI intends to respond by finally creating that registry. We are on the way. Because let me remember something I said in that article: It is difficult to create effective and adjusted measures if we do not know the magnitude of the problem.

All this and much more is part of a process of social change that has happened in our country in the last twenty years. Now many things seem obvious, as if they had always existed. But it's not like that. When this week the approval of the LOPIVI was discussed, there were those who suggested calling it “Ley Rhodes”, because the role of James Rhodes has been key to accelerating a process that, although it was happening, it happened at an infuriatingly slow pace. Your book Instrumental it was something difficult to express for many people. He lent his name, but above all his pain to give voice to many victims. I can never thank you enough. This law is also yours, although not only yours. Let us bear in mind that before him there were many victims who asked to speak to the president of the government and were never treated. Not a prime minister, various, of various parties and political signs. Why? Because Spanish society was not prepared and the political cost for any politician of any political sign to take a position on this issue was too high. The current government has been very courageous in promoting the LOPIVI approval process and it has been achieved with high political consensus., because society did not question it (except for some specific measures in the law that did cause debate), because it seems obvious, it seems justice. But it seems so now.

The very process of formulating the bill hides behind a very long process. Let me just give a few dates. First presentation on violence against children in the Congress of Deputies, year 2005. Creation of the sub-commission on violence against children, year 2014. In this blog post we wrote about that subcommittee. Presentation of signatures for the no prescription of child sexual abuse crimes, May of 2016. Creation of a working group of organizations and entities promoted by Save the Children and Santander Chair of the Universidad Pontificia de Comillas to prepare a joint draft of the law that could be taken to the Senate and Congress, year 2018. Sending the draft bill, December 2020. Approval of the Bill (in the absence of his passage through the Senate and, if there are relevant modifications, again by Congress), April 2021.

This week there was also talk of three-year processes, of five years for some of the measures that this law has collected and that represented a before and after in this process, because they are processes promoted by adults who were victims of some form of abuse in their childhood. Adults who stepped forward and put a face and a voice to the silenced horror. Only adult people who were victims in childhood and adolescence could do that, because children's organizations, no matter how hard they worked to make that pain visible, they could not get the children out, girls and adolescents to tell what was happening to them. They couldn't speak alone, they needed the adults who could already do it. People like Vicky Bernadet, as Miguel Hurtado, as Gloria Visors, as Manuel Barbero. They and they gave name and surname. But before that there were also the victims' associations that had been established for years, as ACASI, the Garaitza Association, The World of ASI, the RANA Foundation and many others demanding to be attended and carrying out an essential social awareness work. His voice and his work gave legitimacy to what organizations like Save the Children, the ANAR Foundation, UNICEF Spain, SOS Children's Villages Spain the Educo they counted in their data. They all made data take life and soul. Without them, all of them, concrete people, victims associations, this law would never have been passed.

There was talk of entities and organizations. I have mentioned them. With the priceless role of the Platform of Organizations for Children (THEN) and Federation of Associations for the Prevention of Child Abuse (FAPMI).

And it was reminded jurists and academics who supported the organizations in their process. Impossible not to mention here Clara Martinez or to Félix López, Jesus Palacios, Jorge Fernandez del Valle, Enrique Echeburúa, Maria Ignacia Arruabarrena the Naomi Pereda. Professionals who gave legitimacy with their investigations or with their knowledge to processes undertaken by the entities. Professionals in the field of childhood have something in common: Somos continued!, not to say directly that we are stubborn. Without all these entities and the professionals who supported them, this law would never have been approved..

But to me I have missed three mentions this week with which I want to end this article of celebration and gratitude.

The first is to the international process. It was said that Spain is a pioneer. But this law would never have been passed without the realization of the World Report on violence against children (also known by the name of “Informe Pinheiro” by haber been Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro su coordinador). It was the first study to be carried out worldwide on violence against children, and forced the United Nations to recognize the brutal dimension of this problem in all countries and regions of the world. Going back to what I was saying at the beginning, I have worked on the issue of physical punishment of children in 32 countries. In all without exception I have been told in the workshops that the punishment “it was part of their culture”. One of the things that report made clear is that violence against children, although it has some specificities, it is not something cultural, nor typical of certain social or economic classes. It is a universal problem, that has to do with the abuse of power in interpersonal relationships, with the need to achieve a change in relationships between people, and especially between adults and children, and adolescents. A problem that has to do with the recognition of children, girls and adolescents as full citizens. And in this process I want to mention two people who played a key role and of whom little has been said this week. On one side, Jorge Cardona, as Spanish representative on the Committee on the Rights of the Child, and on the other, Elda Moreno as responsible for Children's Rights Area in the Council of Europe, that promoted the campaign “Your hands are to protect” against physical punishment, the bell “One in five” on child sexual abuse that arose after approval in 2007 of Lanzarote Convention (Council of Europe Convention for the protection of children against sexual exploitation and abuse), and the current campaign “Start to Talk” (“Start talking”) against sexual abuse in sport. Without these three campaigns this law would never have been approved.

The second is to the Defenders of the rights of the child, Nina your teen. From the Children's area of ​​the Ombudsman to the Defensoría existing in different Autonomous Communities. I want to highlight the work of the office of the Ararteko, the Ombudsman, the OBIA (Balearic Office for Children and Adolescents), the Andalusian Ombudsman and Palma City Council's Ombudsman, who have publicly positioned themselves in denouncing different forms of violence that children were suffering, girls and adolescents in their respective territories. The legitimacy of their complaints as independent institutions has supported the work of children's organizations in this process..

And the other mention that I have missed is all the professionals who work daily with the last protagonists of this law: children, and adolescent victims of violence. I'm talking about the professionals of the protection system, who work in residential care or foster care resources, in different intervention programs at risk, in social services and as technicians in protection services: educators, psychologists, social workers…, all those people who daily hold the pain of these children, and adolescents. And especially those who work directly in specialized therapeutic care resources. I could mention many, many but let me mention the UTASI psychologists with whom we have published the book Putting soul to pain, the Margins and Links Foundation, ADIMA, the Xylem Foundation, the A La Par Foundation, Victoria Noguerol, Maria Perez, José Luis Gonzalo, Javier Soriano Romeu, Begoña Aznarez and José Luis Marín, Jorge Barudy and Maryorie Dantagnan, Natalia Seijo, Cristina Cortes, Elena Borrajo, Loli Urízar Nieto, Ana Sieiro, Toni Echeverria, Josu Gago, Alberto Rodriguez, Javier Múgica… and i could go on. I have worked in recent years with professional teams of entities that from their work in the resources of the protection system bring light to the darkness from which these children are trying to emerge, and adolescents. And they do it when they do their job well, give them warmth and hope. And once again this week they have been the great forgotten.

It has not only been politicians who have made this law a reality, nor the visible faces that we have seen in the media. Those who make it a reality and will do it on a daily basis will be these professionals whom we try to accompany from CI Spirals years ago. I think of good teachers, those who look at the lives of their students beyond the subjects they teach, they see the pain in front of them and they do not ignore it. I think of the male and female educators who work tirelessly in the protection centers, in family intervention programs in risk situations, in municipal social service centers, on the street, in the squares, in leisure and free time resources… I am thinking of the members of the State Security Forces and Bodies who resist although “the others”, as a friend once told me, “always be more and are better endowed”. I think of the doctors, nurses and health personnel looking at these children, girls and adolescents and name the horror and sign it in a report for which they will have to answer judicially, but they do it because they know it's part of their job. I think about the prosecutors, judges, psychosocial teams, lawyers, court clerks…, all those people who try to train and improve a system that is not adequate to protect the rights of children, girls and adolescent victims.

Because the LOPIVI speaks of the horror of which the human being is capable. But it speaks above all about the entire immense network of incredible people that I have had the privilege of meeting.. People who are moved, they get angry and get involved in the fight against that horror. This article is intended to be my little tribute on behalf of the team of CI Spirals to all of them in a moment that deserves celebration and memory. Y, once the article is finished, it's time to continue. There's still a lot, a lot to do. And this week's sentences are proof of it. But every time we are more. And so it is much easier.

Thanks from my heart,

Pepa Horno (in the name of Spirals equipment CI)

Online training “Intervention with children, migrant girls and adolescents living on the street”, given by F. Javier Romeo on 3 December 2020

Online training “Intervention with children, migrant girls and adolescents living on the street”, provided by F. Javier Romeo to UNICEF Spain, aimed at professionals in the protection system. The training is based on the intervention model proposed in the publication Beyond survival. How to improve the intervention in Europe with unaccompanied and separated migrant children who are left outside the protection system, written by F. Javier Romeo and Pepa Horno to UNICEF Spain, with some elements of deepening that do not appear in the text.

Date: Thursday, 3 December 2020, the 11:00 a 13:00 (Madrid time).

Place: online activity.

Free registration through event in the UNICEF Spain account in Zoom.

[Original Entry 19 November 2020, updated 3 December 2020, date of the online event].

Workshop “Prevention of violence and creation of safe and protective environments”, taught online by F. Javier Romeo for UNICEF Spain the days 3 and 10 November 2020

Workshop “Prevention of violence and creation of safe and protective environments” taught online by F. Javier Romeo (and by other professionals) to UNICEF Spain under the Child Friendly Cities program and aimed at a wide audience: families, teachers, Pediatricians, but also professionals from local administrations (toy libraries and camps and sports activities staff, responsible for promoting spaces for participation or social services teams).

Date: Tuesday 3 and Tuesday 10 November 2020, the 11:00 a 13:00 (Madrid time).

Place: online activity.

More information and free registration at the UNICEF Spain's Child Friendly Cities program page.

[Original Entry 21 October 2020, updated 10 November 2020, date of the last session].

Online presentation of the report “Beyond survival” con F. Javier Romeo on 6 November 2020

Online presentation of the report "Beyond survival. How to improve the intervention in Europe with unaccompanied and separated migrant children who remain outside the protection system ”, written by F. Javier Romeo and Pepa Horno to UNICEF Spain, With the presence of F. Javier Romeo.

Date: Friday, 6 November 2020, the 11:00 a 12:00 Madrid time.

Place: online activity.

Free registration through event in the UNICEF Spain account in Zoom.

[Original Entry 29 October 2020, updated 6 November 2020, date of the online event].

“Beyond survival. How to improve the intervention in Europe with unaccompanied and separated migrant children who are left outside the protection system”, by F. Javier Romeo and Pepa Horno for UNICEF

[Read the English version clicking here.]

Unaccompanied and separated migrant children face multiple difficulties. Like boys and girls, they are not usually heard. As immigrants, it is often considered that “they have fewer rights. Like boys and girls without affective references, they have to face the lack of protection on the part of the institutions that should protect them. And as boys and girls who are left outside the protection system and who can sometimes resort to any way of life to survive, they are often the target of hate speech and narratives that dehumanize them. But, We need to remember that they are boys and girls who have suffered adverse experiences and who deserve safe interventions that guarantee their human rights.

As a contribution to consolidate solid interventions and respectful narratives, We are proud to present this document that we have prepared from Espirales Consultoría de Infancia:

Although the two of us, F. Javier Romeo and Pepa Horno we are its authors, This publication tries to collect all the findings of the International Workshop that took place in Madrid in December 2019, that Javier helped facilitate. We had the contributions of specialists from Spain, French, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Norway, Netherlands and Sweden in Europe and Morocco in Africa. We also have the coordination of UNICEF Spain and UNICEF France, with the support of UNICEF's PFP Division. Our thanks for everything you shared., for their knowledge and for their experience. We hope the document will honor your generosity and commitment..

We have structured the text with three goals in mind, each of which is addressed in a chapter:

  1. Be clear about the “Fundamental principles and main risks faced by unaccompanied and separated children living on the street”.
  2. Get a complete perspective on a “Call to action: towards an integrative model of intervention for the care and protection of unaccompanied boys and girls living on the street”, exploring four levels of intervention (address legal and documentation aspects; promote and develop safe and protective environments; provide affective references to boys and girls; and build new narratives with and about unaccompanied migrant children living on the street).
  3. Provide inspiration through “Selected positive practices”, a compilation of specific interventions and programs that have worked at each of the levels proposed in the Chapter 2.

We hope that this document will help professionals and activists to develop new narratives and increasingly comprehensive interventions.. In this way, it will be possible to ensure that these children have full access to their rights., as the title says, beyond survival.

F. Javier Romeo and Pepa Horno

“Beyond Survival. Improving intervention in Europe with Unaccompanied and Separated Migrant Children who fall through the protection system”, by F. Javier Romeo and Pepa Horno for UNICEF

[Click here to read the Spanish version].

Unaccompanied and Separated Migrant Children face multiple difficulties. As children, they are seldom listened to. As migrants, they are considered as “with less rights”. As children without affective referents, they face defencelessness from the official institutions that should protect them. And as children that fall through the protection system and that can sometimes resort to any way of living in order to survive, they are often the target of hate speech and dehumanizing narratives. However, we need to remember that they are children who have suffered severe experiences and who deserve safe interventions that ensure their human rights.

As a contribution for the consolidation of sound interventions and respectful narratives, we are proud to present this document that we have elaborated from Espirales Consultoría de Infancia:

Although we, F. Javier Romeo and Pepa Horno are its authors, this publication tries to summarize all the findings of the International Workshop held in Madrid in December 2019, that Javier co-facilitated. We had the inputs of experts from Spain, France, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden in Europe and Morocco in Africa. We also counted with the coordination from UNICEF Spain and UNICEF France, with the support of the UNICEF PFP Division. We are grateful to all their sharings, their knowledge and their experience. We hope that the document will be able to honour their generousity and their commitment.

We have created this text with three goals in mind. They are addressed in each of the chapters:

  1. Having clarity about the “Key principles and risks faced by unaccompanied and separated children living in the street.”
  2. Envisioning a “Call for action: towards an integrative model of intervention for the care and protection of unaccompanied children in the street,” exploring four levels of intervention (addressing documentation and legal aspects; ensuring safe and protective environments; providing affective references; and building new narratives with and about unaccompanied migrant children living in the streets).
  3. Providing inspiration with “Selected positive practice,” a collection of specific programmes and interventions that have worked for each of the levels proposed in Chapter 2.

We hope that this document will help professionals and activists to develop new narratives and more integrated interventions. Those narratives will ensure that these children have full access to all their rights, as the title goes, beyond survival.

F. Javier Romeo and Pepa Horno

With “C” the “school”: creativity, community, awareness and warmth

Today I had the honor of participating in a virtual round table organized by the Early Childhood Education Advisors of the Cantabria Teachers' Centers. With the title “The return to the classrooms in Early Childhood Education: complementary looks”, we have gathered professionals in the field of pediatrics (Maria Jesus Cabero), The education (David Altimir), children's rights (Nacho guadix) and psychology (that have been assigned to me). It's been two hours that I've really enjoyed, seeing how the different perspectives are necessary to guarantee that the return of the boys and girls of Early Childhood Education return to the classrooms safely (not to education, because most have received continuous educational support from the teaching teams).

When we have been invited to close, three words have come to mind, that in the end there have been four. And all four start with “C”, as “school”.

Creativity. If the Early Childhood Education teams are characterized by something, it is their imagination, for their ability to create new resources that adapt, moment by moment to the needs of the children with whom they work. It's time to continue on this path even more: how to combine health security with emotional security, how to organize spaces and relationships, how to face the different challenges… That is why it is necessary to continue thinking and rethinking each measure, but alone is not enough, it will be essential to have the second element.

Community. Each person has our strengths and our strengths, and our professions too. So we will need to have different views, with the creativity of other points of view to tackle the challenges that lie ahead. In the case of Early Childhood Education, educational teams are already used to collaboration between teachers, and now it will be very practical to structurally incorporate other voices. On the one hand, families, which are always the first affective reference of boys and girls and that, also, have been co-facilitators of education and learning during confinement. On the other hand, other professional teams, from the fields of health and social services, but also from leisure and free time, or artistic activities. And you can't miss the boys and girls themselves. Participation is not just a right and one of the pillars of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. My professional experience (and personal) is that, when we ask children about the issues that affect them, they can give us much-needed visions and innovative and simple solutions at the same time. When we have all these looks, not only will we feel better with the accompaniment, but we will give more effective and satisfactory answers for all parties.

Consciousness. We are in a new time, living experiences for which we have no close references. In extraordinary situations we will see extraordinary reactions. Anger, fear or sadness will appear in boys and girls with very varied forms, and also within us. We need awareness to navigate them, and much of the work with children will consist of helping them to also learn to navigate with the accompaniment of adults who love and care for them.. (I leave some links to videos that we have prepared from Espirales Consultoría de Infancia for UNICEF Spain, on our three intelligences and how to use them to better manage rabies, the how to use them to better relate to our fears, or how to ask for help, soon). Knowing that there are going to be boys and girls who are going to return to the classrooms with fear in their hearts means that we have to use our utmost conscience to take care of the last element.

Warmth. The first ties in the lives of boys and girls are marked by warmth (or for lack of it), also with their teachers. This is well known by the Early Childhood Education educational teams, who find ways to make boys and girls feel accepted and loved in their schools. After all these months, and with the emotional cold that they can carry settled in their bodies, boys and girls are going to need all the warmth that their teachers can give them, combining creativity with health security. That must be one of the main objectives at all times., but now even more if possible.

I hope these ideas inspire you to find your own way of being with children, and adolescents.

With hope and awareness,

F. Javier Romeo

“Notebook for post-confinement action” from UNICEF Spain

Confinement due to the coronavirus health emergency has been a very difficult experience for children, and adolescents, for their families and for the professional teams that accompany them in their life and development. Now that sanitary measures are being relaxed and that a return to “new normal”, it is necessary to take into account the different aspects that affect them.

UNICEF Spain, from its Child Friendly Cities program, have published the Notebook for post-confinement action. Measures for creating protective care and recreation environments for children and adolescents to approach the new reality from a rights perspective for each child, girl and teenager. It is an honor that the methodology of “Safe and protective environments” that we have developed since Spiral Consulting Children, and that they have also invited us to collaborate in their application to spaces where children, girls and teenagers are going to start attending.

The document is briefly explained also in this blog post from Child Friendly Cities, in which the basic criteria for children to be briefly presented, girls and adolescents can attend public and shared spaces with security, not only physical and sanitary, but also on an emotional level. For this, it is essential to have professionals who know how to relate emotionally in these situations, and with special attention to participation, to the children, girls and adolescents can receive the listening they need to tell their experiences and concerns and to propose their ideas and solutions.

We hope you find of interest, especially to those who work from the municipal level, in spaces for the attention of children and young people, but also to families, so you can value the spaces to which you take your sons and daughters.

With hope and awareness,

F. Javier Romeo and Pepa Horno

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