jueves, 15 de septiembre de 2022

Plataforma NNAPEs and the Inter American Institute of the Child (IIN-OAS) launch course on Children with Incarcerated Parents

Olu Olgunlade, a former member of the Osborne Association´s Youth Action Council (YAC) turned on her camera and unmuted her mic. She shared with a global audience her story and how the incarceration of her father impacted her and isolated her. 

She shared as well how important it was for her to find a place like the YAC and how it helped her and encouraged her to meet others who were also navigating life with family member that had was incarcerated.

Olu knows that losing a parent due to incarceration can be traumatic and challenge the proper development of these children so providing adequate support during this period is critical, it is why she believes that there should be more organizations and programs that welcome these children.

Thankfully, the issue is gaining attention and there is now another resource available for public institutions and civil society actors to better understand the challenges facing Children with Incarcerated Parents.

Plataforma NNAPES and the Inter American Institute of the Child (IIN-OAS) had invited Olu to be one of many speakers at the launch of the first English language version course on the protection, promotion, and fulfillment of the rights of children and adolescents with incarcerated parents that took place on September 6th.

While this is the first time this course is being held in English it is worth noting that five cohorts have completed the Spanish language version. More than 200 representatives of child protection, justice, penitentiary systems and civil society organizations from 18 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have participated in those editions (About 42% finalization rate).

Víctor Giorgi, IIN-OAS´ Outgoing General Director, who has been instrumental in this partnership and creation of the course said: "The state as a whole must assume the need to minimize the damage they can create when they send a mother or father to prison. They are also responsible for protecting the rights of the children that are left behind”. 

This course will help public institutions to be better able to do that. Professor Ann Skelton, from the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child also provided a key address where she stressed that this problem is of great interest to the Committee. She also acknowledged that since the day of general debate in 2011, in which she participated, the issue has gained more attention and is starting to become part of the agenda of key children protection actors. She believes that this happens thanks to actions such as "this one that Plataforma NNAPEs is carrying out" so she hopes that others will follow suit.

Vivienne Chin, representative of the Canadian Coalition for Children with Incarcerated Parents also highlighted the important role that civil society has in making visible, supporting, and advocating for the rights of these children. She also stressed the importance of collaboration between government agencies and civil society organizations in the planning and implementation of initiatives to address the needs of this population.

So, currently, 41 students from 9 countries are participating in this new edition that is being implemented within the framework of the agreement that was signed between Plataforma NNAPES and the Inter-American Children's Institute back in 2017. For more information on the course, and/or to get the recording of the event please reach out to Luciano Cadoni, Plataforma NNAPES´s representative to Child Rights Connect, and Co-Convener of the Working Group on Children with Incarcerated Parents.