National Working Group on Family and Community Living, Brazil

Focus 7: Promoting sustainable reintegration of children into their family from an alternative care setting

Composed of representatives from civil society and from municipal, state and federal governments, the National Working Group on Family and Community Living promotes common guidelines regarding the care of children that are or are about to be separated from their families. They have developed a National Plan, which aims to break with the culture of systematic institutionalisation of children and adolescents and commit to a programme of de-institutionalisation.

A major aim of the programme is to support the reintegration of the child to the family of origin. To support this process the Working Group has supported the development of a number of pilot projects in North-East Brazil.

One programme, ’Casa de Passagem Diagnostica’ in Pernambuco, provides short-term residential care for families in crisis to support family reintegration, or if not possible, to find another alternative. Between 2005 and 2009 the programme welcomed 555 children, of whom 73% were re-integrated into their family. Another programme is ‘Family and Community Reintegration for Street Children and Adolescents’ in Recife, which was implemented over 3 years from 2006 to 2008.

By prioritising and investing in collaborative work with the family of origin, the programme has doubled the number of successful cases of family reintegration with street children. The Foster Family Programme in Maranhao arranges for children and adolescents separated from their families to be received into foster families as a protective measure until the time that family reintegration is possible. In all its work, the Group promotes the importance of working with families of origin and reinforces the premise that whenever possible, care outside of the home should be seen as a temporary and exceptional measure.


International Social Service, Oak Foundation, SOS Children's Villages International, unicef, ATD Fourth World, Better Care Network, Family for every child, ngo group for the crc, PEPFAR, RELAF, Save the Children, USAID