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Abandoned Children in Latin American Cities


Abandoned Children in Latin American Cities Christian Ragland Akich White Jess Knecht – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Abandoned Children in Latin American Cities

Abandoned Children in Latin American Cities
  • Christian Ragland
  • Akich White
  • Jess Knecht

What is an Abandoned Child?
  • Abandoned children are children who have no
    contact with family members and resort to a
    dangerous homeless lifestyle.
  • They may get involved in crime, gangs, and have
    to avoid danger at all cost.
  • Political conditions, such as difficulty in
    adoption proceedings, may also contribute to
    child abandonment, as can the lack of
    institutions, such as orphanages, to take in
    children whom their parents cannot support.
    Societies with strong social structures and
    liberal adoption laws tend to have lower rates of
    child abandonment.

World Statistics of Abandoned Children
  • The United Nations estimate there to be 100
    million street children worldwide.
  • Over 557,000 children under the age of 5 years
    die each year.
  • Poverty is often a root cause of child
    abandonment. Persons in cultures with poor social
    welfare systems who are not financially capable
    of taking care of a child are more likely to
    abandon him/her.

Abandoned Children or Street Children in Latin
  • For over three decades Latin America has endured
    the unenviable distinction of having more street
    children per capita than any place on earth.
  • An estimated 40 million children live on the
    streets of Latin America's densely populated
    cities out of an estimated total population of
    500 million
  • More than 96,000,000 children in Latin America
    live in poverty.
  • 40 of all children in Latin America do not even
    complete 5 years of education.

What are the causes to these high rates of child
abandonment in Latin America ?
  • When we talk about the high rates of child
    abandonment, we must keep in mind the various
    factors that go into this phenomenon.
  • The two biggest factors that were researched
    were Poverty and Violence.

  • Poverty is the lack of basic human needs, such as
    clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care,
    education, clothing and shelter, because of the
    inability to afford them.
  • When we look at poverty, we must look at the
    childrens lack of a family life, education, and
    institutions to help them.

Poverty (Cont.)
  • Family life - Most if not all of the abandoned
    children are abandoned due to the fact they are
    not in the custody of their parents or other
  • This can be due to their parents being deceased,
    parents not being able to afford to keep them, or
    the overall violence of a Latin American country
    that might of claimed their familys lives.

Poverty (Cont.)
  • Lack of Education - In many countries, it is
    mandatory that children go to school. In many
    Latin American countries, most of the abandoned
    children are running the streets rather than
    attending school.
  • With this lack of education, these abandoned
    children are not getting the tools that could
    eventually get them out of poverty.
  • Also, there is no system of forcing these
    children to be in school instead of being on the
    dangerous streets.

Poverty (Cont.)
  • Lack of Institutions - In Latin America, there is
    a definite lack of institutions that will help
    these children stay away from consequences of
  • -Institutions that will provide a safe haven and
    the proper accommodations for the abandoned
    children so that they are not lost to violence,
    exploitation, and death.
  • There are some institutions in these countries,
    most noticeably the churches and orphanages, but
    that has not been enough.
  • International agencies are trying to help, but
    the problem is hard to fight from a external view.

  • When speaking about violence in reference to the
    abandoned children in Latin America, we are
    talking about the unfortunate situations these
    children are put in while on the streets.
  • With Latin America, gang violence is one of the
    major factors that continues the dangerous cycle
    of child abandonment.

Violence ( Cont.)
  • High death rate among street children
  • Street Children in gangs and victims of gangs
  • Girls fall victim to prostitution and sex trade
  • suffer physical abuse and murder at hands of
    gangs and police
  • Some but not all involved with gangs
  • Police agents do little to investigate murders of
    street children

  • 40 million children estimated.
  • Need for food, clothes and drug abuse lead many
    to prostitution.
  • Prostitution increased with tourism.

Health Dangers
  • HIV and other STIs are a major problem among
    street children.
  • 660,000 women (aged 15) living with HIV.
  • Malnutrition.
  • No healthcare available.
  • Drugs

Police Response
  • Social Cleansing
  • Police have participated in killings of street
  • Weapons provided to land owners.
  • Death squads

Organ Trafficking
  • Rumors started in the 1980s
  • Children picked up and sold to North America
  • Lower adoption rates.

Positive Government Responses
  • Brazil
  • Mexico
  • Colombia

Non-Governmental Organizations
  • MNMMR (National Movement of Street Children)
  • Casa Alianza (Covenant House)
  • Bruce Organization
  • ENDA-Bolivia

  • Why do you think that many governments prefer
    ignoring the problem or killing street kids?
  • Do you think if governments focused more on
    abandoned children, it would pose a significant
    blow to the parties benefiting from them?
  • Do you think the systems for abandoned children
    in the US would work if implemented in Latin
    American countries?
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