Statement on new legislation in Brazil by Family for Every Child’s General Assembly on 27 March 2015

Family for Every Child is an alliance of national civil society organisations working to ensure that children can grow up safe and protected in families and be provided with quality alternative care where needed. We work to ensure that no child is unnecessarily separated from his/ her family. We note with alarm the proposed Brazilian national congress legislation in Brazil (Bill PEC – constitutional amendment project No. 171/1993) which, if passed, will see the lowering of the age of criminal responsibility (16 years) and a likely increase in the number of children and adolescents who are placed in detention and apart from their families.

We acknowledge that the use of custodial sentences and the absence of diversionary and non-custodial sentences is a key reason for family separation in some contexts, and that children outside of any adult care, such as those living on the streets, are especially vulnerable to being placed in often appalling conditions in prisons around the world. We join the voices in Brazil and around the world demanding governments invest in supporting and protecting children, reducing criminalisation and marginalisation of all children and urge the government of Brazil to reconsider this bill.