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Alternatives to detention

Video showing alternatives to detention for unaccompanied and separated children on the move, including small group homes.

In the previous course step we heard about a programme to develop alternatives to detention in Mexico through provision of more suitable care options for unaccompanied and separated children. In this video we have a second opportunity to learn about the two small group homes in Mexico we reviewed in course step 4.18. Both these projects are being recognised by government, UN and non-government agencies in Mexico as examples of alternative care that offer an alternative to detention.

We first hear about a small group home managed by the Fundación Casa Alianza – a national NGO in Mexico. The second project – Albergue Colibrí – is a small group home run by a local authority in one region of Mexico. The two projects have benefitted from collaboration with each other as well as assistance from UNICEF Mexico.

These two projects care for unaccompanied and separated children. Some children are in transit and others are hoping to remain in Mexico. Both of these care settings have specifically developed an ‘open door’ policy. This means that children and young people are able to be part of the local community, attend local schools, and take part in other activities such as social and sporting events.

In the video we will hear from Roberto Guerrero Reyes, a Programme Director for Fundación Casa Alianza, as well as Abraham Cárdenas Vadillo, the Director of Albergue Colibrí, and Dulce María Kemparra, the Assistant Director at Albergue Colibrí. They explain why pioneering this open door policy in Mexico is so important for unaccompanied children. We will also meet children living in these two care settings as they take part in a number of different social activities. Please note that some children may have their identity hidden for protection reasons.

A major element of these two projects is the way they have worked to combat the discrimination against unaccompanied and separated refugee and migrant children. Discrimination is a factor contributing to unaccompanied and separated children being held in closed centres. The projects also help the children and young people overcome any fears they may have about the new society in which they find themselves, and help build their confidence through interaction in the community. The project teams also believe that having an open door policy, while creating a caring and child friendly environment, deters children and young people from running away, which is a situation that could put them at risk of abuse and exploitation.

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Caring for Children Moving Alone: Protecting Unaccompanied and Separated Children

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