The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) has initiated the first phase of a program that will eventually train between 300 and 350 caregivers working in public and private children’s shelters in Jalisco.
Around 50 staff from three of Guadalajara’s largest shelters – Cien Corazones, Ciudad de los Niños del Padre Cuéllar and the Casa Hogar Cabañas – are participating in the first phase.
“We are going to concentrate on parenting skills with warmth and empathetic treatment, on good management of emotions and a healthy balance between love and limits,” said Kristian Hölge, UNDOC’s representative in Mexico.
The treatment of children in Jalisco care homes came under intense scrutiny in July of last year when a 12-year-old boy was filmed suffering abuse at the hands of a caregiver in the Cien Corazones shelter. Police subsequently arrested and charged the person responsible, and the director of the shelter was removed from her position. (The boy, regrettably, died October 6 due to an infectious disease unrelated to the abuse incident.)
“We want to professionalize our monitors, look for new tools, for new national and international models for the care of our children” Alberto Esquer Guitiérrez, director of Jalisco’s Social Assistance System (SSAS), said at an event to launch the program this week.
Around 5,000 children are housed in shelters in Jalisco.