In 2009 with support from CIESPI and its colleagues, the Rio de Janeiro Municipal Council for the Rights of Children and Adolescents adopted a policy which laid down concrete steps that municipal departments had to take to improve the lives of street children. For the next several years, CIESPI and its partners pressed hard for implementation of the policy but with few results. And in 2011, the municipality took a big step backward by passing a resolution (Resolution 20) which robbed street children of key rights. CIESPI again started to provide information, strategies, and organizing to its partners with the result that in April 2016 the Resolution was overturned and a substitute resolution reiterated some of the rights contained in the Rio policy.

At the national level, the challenge has been the absence of specific provisions for street children and youth in the federal legislation on street people. CIESPI has been working with the National Network on Street Children and National Council on the Rights of the Child in meetings with the National Council on Social Assistance and the National Health Council to shape such provisions. CIESPI has also been working with colleagues in the Rio to make specific provisions for street children in a municipal ordinance. Such an ordinance has been drafted and is in the legislative hopper.

All street children are vulnerable to a range of harms but pregnant girls and young parents are particularly vulnerable. CIESPI has, therefore, started a new project to improve policies and practices for these young people in partnership with the Sao Martinho Association in Rio that offers them concrete services. The goal is to get the young people to describe the challenges they face as material for improving public policies. A first step was the production of a CIESPI video documentary featuring young pregnant women on the streets and the result, I’m pregnant: so now what? won first prize in the Rio Children’s Network audio/visual contest Can I speak?

CIESPI’s work on the local and national levels is complemented by international work. As a member of the international Coalition on Street Children based in London, U.K. CIESPI announces with great pleasure the adoption of the U.N. General Comment on the Convention on the Rights of the Child which lays out in detail the steps signatory states should take to assist and support street children. Earlier, CIESPI testified on the importance of such a General Comment before a committee of the Convention in Geneva, Switzerland. Prior to this action, the Convention contained no detailed reference to the treatment of street youth.

CIESPI’s work on street children has been supported by the Oak Foundation of Geneva, Switzerland, and the National Council on the Rights of the Child.

Project team

Coordination: Irene Rizzini - PUC-Rio/DSS; CIESPI/PUC-Rio
Executive coordination: Maria Cristina Bó - CIESPI/PUC-Rio
Executive coordination assistant: Claudia Mendes - CIESPI/PUC-Rio
Consultancy: Malcolm Bush - Loyola University of Chicago; CIESPI/PUC-Rio

Renata Brasil - CIESPI/PUC-Rio
Juliana Batistuta Vale - CIESPI/PUC-Rio

Scholarship holders
Julia de Castilho Ramos - CIESPI/PUC-Rio; FAPERJ
Luisa Dias - CIESPI/PUC-Rio