Reflection on the Comprehensive System for the Protection of Children and Adolescents
The claim that childhood is not a priority for our rulers should not be an exaggeration. As casual as this premise is, history and data bear it out.
The structural agenda of issues and problems that require public policies and budgetary interventions to improve the lives and basic rights of almost 40 million children and adolescents in the country does not represent as such a pillar within the public debate or in the vocal day of our representatives.
Despite the fact that Mexico has a young normative instrument such as the General Law on Children and Adolescents (2014), its existence and implementation in recent years has not been sufficient to articulate with the necessary solidity and force the national and priority character of the so-called Complex system for the protection of children and adolescents (SIPINNA).
Of course, the efforts made to set this mechanism in motion, equipping it with an administrative structure and starting to configure the different phases of a national program that knows how to integrate the three levels of management in the definition of care guidelines, are not minimized Mexican childhood and adolescence. But it must be said that the problem with these systems is not in their noble and justified goals, the matter becomes more complicated when we turn primarily to the facts of their functioning.
One of the most repeated criticisms that general laws of this type have been made by the legal forum is that they seem to be designed under a kind of legislative blindness, due to the difficulty in implementing these types of intergovernmental cooperation mechanisms, which are extremely ambitious, when they seek to be applied in regions and realities as different as those that exist in the atypical mosaic of Mexican federalism.
What do we mean? As is the case with other national coordination systems – security, education, to name a few – these types of mechanisms ultimately prove insufficient in their work given the size of the problem they seek to solve or are designed to address. .
The multiplicity of actors involved, combined with the fragmentation and dispersal of public programs found especially in states and municipalities, causes these systems to maintain an alarming discontinuity; both because of the level of investment of resources that is required to start specialized instances – let’s talk about law firms for protection, state and municipal systems – and because of the scarce materialization of specific public policies outside the diagnosis office or signing of protocol commitments.
That being said, I believe that the notorious transversality, which is so much talked about in the specialist guild and which characterizes the children’s and adolescents’ rights agenda, has not been sufficiently analyzed, addressed, much less paid for in a strategic approach. – operational, in a country composed of 32 different social and legal realities. Added to this is a current scenario in which the federal executive retains, at the very least, a leading role in shaping the national agenda.
But this error, crucial in my opinion, largely stems from various pathologies that are unfortunately part of the legislative inertia and low technical level that prevails in the Mexican Parliament. In the normative tendency to “send everything to the general laws”, some made in almost the same format, the Congress of the Union has not paid the necessary attention to the specific design and practical apparatus needs required by the regulatory frameworks of the most sensitive population issues, especially in the field of human rights protection.
This is expressed in regulations that are difficult to comply with, like the one at the moment, with titanic challenges to start the bureaucratic machine and national coordination that are foreseen by its texts, and above all, far from the economic and social reality of a country. It is not for nothing that specialists such as Dr. Cecilia Mora have emphasized for decades that the legislative technique must include, on the part of the primary legislator, above all, the performance of a critical review of the result that the regulations intend to produce after their entry into force.
If we pass this sieve to the General Law on Children and Adolescents and its star institution that represents SIPINNA 8 years after its entry into force, the data can be somewhat discouraging.
The regulatory and institutional mechanism is not decisive for improving the living conditions of the new generations. Without going too far, according to UNICEF, investment in public resources in early childhood, children and adolescents in the last 6 years has decreased from 3.27% of GDP in 2018 to 2.86%, which is expected by 2023 Mr.
Bad news is also read in the projection of data, which should be a priority not only for the operators of this agenda, but for the whole country; Specific investments in early childhood, i.e. children between 0 and 5 years old, barely reach 0.5% of GDP in this year 2022.
What does this mean? Well, although the original purpose of the General Law, its by-laws and the relevant administrative structures that are part of the child and adolescent protection systems was to materialize and take care of the rights of this sector of the population as a priority, it is clearly , that the work to be done will require little more than activity and good intentions on the part of public authorities.
Implied here, it seems to me, is an agenda and at the same time an authentic road map that, if the political actors of the moment know how to read it with a high-mindedness, could represent a viable alternative for Mexico to address the root causes of our social problems.
There will be no better structural approach for a future governor—the most complete and sensible one in my opinion—than to enforce the Constitution and, for the first time in the history of this country, place at the center of any program or public policy decision the best interest of the child.
I appreciate the opportunity to write this first piece in the extraordinary and historic space of expression that the Herald of Mexico represents. Thank you for considering the voice of the Early Institute and its members, but above all for your interest in the critical work we do for Mexican children.
BY ABRAHAM MADERO MARQUEZ
LAWYER. DOCTOR OF LAWS FROM THE PAN AMERICAN UNIVERSITY. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE MEXICAN MOZILEN EARLY INSTITUTE