Over 61,000 Children

Today in Colombia, there are 61,121 children that have been removed from their biological families because ICBF considers that they are in danger. Children that have been removed from their families have experienced one or more of the following situations: sexual abuse, physical abuse, child labor, abandonment, neglect, or life on the streets.

The number of children under the care of ICBF has increased in the last three years. In 2007, the number was over 48,000. In 2008, it was over 54,000.

Even with this staggering increase, the national director of ICBF, Elvira Forero, believes that there are many more children who are in a vulnerable situation. She hopes that people who recognize abuse and neglect will contact ICBF officials in their area.

Despite the plea for people to be on the look out for abuse and neglect, the director explains that ICBF's goal is not to find new homes for the children, but to educate the parents and hope that the children can safely be returned to either their biological parents or their extended families. In reality, 70 % of the children in ICBF care eventually return home to parents or extended family, while over 8,500, wait to be adopted.

Bogotá is the place that has the most children living under ICBF protection -- 13,939. Next is Antioquia with 7, 847. Then follows Valle with 6, 710, Santander with 2,624, and Nariño with 2,282. The areas with the least number of children in custody are San Andrés with 426, Arauca 358, Vaupés with 83, and Vichada with 41.

The article also points out that if the reason children have been removed is purely economic, ICBF tries to help the parents provide for their children.

This information was extracted from a newspaper article published in El Tiempo on February 5, 2009. To read it in Spanish, use the following link:



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