Guarantee of childhood: “In the face of crises, Italy must secure hope and a future for children and young people”

We live in times of crisis: health, social and even war. Crises representing a stimulus to respond to difficulties with a range of articulated responses and also to relaunch policies to protect children and young people in Italy.

In order for the latter to be effective, however, it is necessary that they take into account the rights of minors, in short that they are ‘suitable for children and young people’. This can be done on the condition that minors are involved in the choices that concern them, so that they participate both in the planning phase and in the monitoring and verification phase. “

In summary, this is the appeal launched today by the Guarantee Authority for Children and Young People Carla Garlatti on the occasion of the presentation of the “Report to Parliament 2021”.

“In the face of crises, we must not tell our children that everything will magically resolve itself – Garlatti warns – rather, we must involve and strengthen them in building their future. No decision affecting children and young people should be taken by adults and institutions without first listening to them and without taking due account of their opinions. The choices made today to respond to crises must then be rejected in a key intergenerational generation: the satisfaction of today’s needs must be pursued without compromising the ability of future generations to satisfy their own. The 1989 New York Convention does not explicitly mention it, but we should add them to hope and to the future of the list of minors’ rights.

In the Sala Capitolare at the convent in the convent of Santa Maria sopra Minerva from the Senate, Carla Garlatti presented the rest of a year of work at the head of the Authority for Children and Young People. “I started my task in the middle of the pandemic and I immediately developed the belief that we had to face the mental emergencies of minors, school dropouts and all the vulnerable situations that affected childhood,” Garlatti says.

The pandemic has affected the fundamental rights of children and young people: to be protected, to education and training, to play and leisure and to health. And this precarious situation was added to structural critical conditions such as the state of poverty in many families: at the end of 2021, there were 1 million 384 thousand minors in absolute poverty, almost three percent more than in 2019. he is tempted to give an answer by to start a renewal season. The PNRR, Childhood Plan and the Italian Action Plan on Child Guarantee for the Vulnerable were adopted. Instruments that the Guarantee Authority intervened in, which among other things concerned kindergartens, school canteens, schools, educational poverty, equal opportunities and the participation of minors.

“The initial results are alarming – warns Carla Garlatti – the problems that emerged during the pandemic are likely to become chronic and spread on a large scale. We talk about eating disorders, suicidal thoughts (suicide attempts and suicide), self-harm, changes in the sleep-wake rhythm and social withdrawal. The increase in requests for assistance with the use of psychoactive substances, cannabinoids and alcohol has also given rise to concern, while unaccompanied minor migrants have expressed difficulties in dealing with isolation and quarantine in reception facilities “.

“Among the many initiatives to be adopted – adds Garlatti – ho relaunched the proposal to establish priority education areas in Italy in the most risky areas. It is also necessary to concentrate resources on creating excellent schools and services in which children in vulnerable situations participate. Finally, fragile families must be offered tailor-made efforts by an interdisciplinary team ”.

“These ideas, which also emerged during the public consultation ‘The school I could like’, which I promoted among 10,000 Italian students, and whose results I have just brought to the Minister of Education Patrizio Bianchi”says Garlatti. “The children also asked for greater dialogue with the teachers, redefining the curriculum with subjects of their choice, as well as opening and integrating the school with the local area”.

“The school I would like” represented an experience of involving minors of particular value. “To promote the participation of minors – Garlatti concludes – I launched an immediate five-point manifesto calling on the institutions to involve children and young people in every decision that concerns them and to make it public; to introduce a system law on the matter; to provide a public online consultation platform; to introduce participation in the teaching of civic education and finally to establish a national day ”.

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