President Piñera signs a bill to create the new Child Protection Service and permanently close a Sename-run center in Valparaíso
The new model will focus on working with families and new residences for children. “This is the beginning of a new phase, a new model with more protection, better care and greater affection,” the President declared, speaking at Cerro Alegre in Valparaíso.
The President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, celebrated Children’s Day by delivering positive news for the country: He has signed a bill to create a new Child Protection Service, which will replace the National Service for Minors (Servicio Nacional de Menores, SENAME).
“Today we’re celebrating Children’s Day with very good news, which I believe will make us all happy. At the same time, we are, in a certain way, fulfilling something that has always been a dream but which we weren’t previously able to transform into reality: truly placing children at the center of our government’s priorities,” the President said during an activity at one of the new children’s homes in Valparaíso. He was accompanied by the First Lady, Cecilia Morel, Social Development Minister Alfredo Moreno, Justice and Human Rights Minister Hernán Larraín, National Assets Minister Felipe Ward, SENAME Director Susana Tonda, members of Congress, children, and local government officials.
The new agency will use a different approach to caring for children consisting of family residences. At the ceremony, the President announced that the Recovery and Direct Administration Center (Centro de Reparaciòn y Administraciòn Directa, CREAD) in the Playa Ancha district of Valparaíso will be closed, due to its failure to provide the care and protection that children need. The CREAD will be replaced by four new family residences in the Cerro Alegre district of Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, Villa Alemana and Quillota.
“From the start, our government has been firmly committed to changing that story: to leaving behind dark times, times of which we are not proud, and to starting a new phase, a new life, giving all children what we would want for our own children,” the President said.
During the activity President Piñera visited the home in Cerro Alegre that will welcome the children from Playa Ancha. The facility was provided by the National Assets Ministry as part of the government’s commitment to putting children first. Once the facility has been officially delivered to the new agency, repairs and remodeling will begin.
The new residences will feature large, welcoming and less crowded spaces with tutors who will be in charge of 4 to 5 children each. The tutors will be key persons responsible for ensuring that each child has the opportunity to live a fulfilling and happy life. The residences will also be staffed by specialists who will ensure that the rights of the children are not violated and will work to reinsert them and mentor their families. The goal is for each residence to provide a family environment for the children.
“This is the beginning of a new phase, a new model with more protection, better care and greater affection,” the President said.
Among the notable characteristics of the new Child Protection Service are the following:
- Changing the focus to working with families
- Improving services provided to children and teenagers in the child protective system
- Substantially improving the care provided to children who have been separated from their families by a court order
- Creation of a Protection Coordination Commission
- Meeting the needs of children under 14 who have been involved in the criminal justice system
- Having highly trained staff to care for the children and ensure they are well treated.
- A decentralized service that adapts to the needs of each geographical area
- Creation of an integrated information, tracking and monitoring system
- Inclusion of support programs for those transitioning to independent living.