The Cesvi Foundation responds to the deterioration in the well-being of minors and the increase in the risk of ill-treatment caused by the crises of recent years by bringing the Case del Sorriso to Italy, spaces for the protection of children that have been operating for years in Brazil, Haiti, India, South Africa, Peru and Zimbabwe. The first Italian structure was inaugurated in Bari and is dedicated to preventing and combating child neglect, poverty and maltreatment. It is part of the Cesvi Foundation’s international children’s program, which provides for the activation of five Houses of Smiles in Italy: two more will be in Milan, one in Naples and another in Syracuse. In the first six months of 2022, the organization supported 1,303 female and male beneficiaries, accompanying 291 mothers and fathers on parenting paths.
The risk is higher in the South
There Puglia, according to the regional index on child abuse in Italy edited by the Cesvi Foundation, is among the regions where the risk is greatest. In fact, it occupies the 17th position of the Index, while the Campania is the most exposed to the risk of ill-treatment (20th position) and the Sicily it is penultimate (19th). Of all, the ‘elevated criticality’ was noted, with a difficult territorial situation both for the risk factors and for the offer of services. There Lombardy on the other hand, it brings up the rear of Northern Italy and is the Region that records the most significant deteriorations compared to the previous edition of the Index. Situation that makes it vulnerable despite being in 10th place in the survey, combining favorable environmental situations with service systems below the national average.
This year’s index showed that the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic have dramatically increased all the risk factors that underlie child maltreatment, in many cases acting as a trigger in situations of previous hardship: poverty and unemployment , deterioration of mental health, isolation and contraction of social relationships. Furthermore, the survey reveals the image of a two-speed Italy, with the most virtuous Regions in the North and those with greater criticality in the South. Among the former, Emilia-Romagna stands out in first place, followed by Trentino- South Tyrol, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Tuscany and Liguria. Among the second, in the last four positions, in addition to Campania and Puglia, there are Sicily (19th) and Calabria (18th).
Boom of neuropsychiatric disorders
This in a national context where, highlighted by a special focus of the 2022 Index, the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the physical and mental health of minors: boom in emergency room visits for neuropsychiatric disorders including suicidal ideation and depression (+80% in 2020), worsening mental health index in the 14-19 age group in 2021 (Istat), increase in crimes against minors (+11% in 2020), as well as child pornography and online grooming (+ 77%).
House of Smiles
The first Italian Casa del Sorriso was inaugurated in Bari, in the San Paolo district: it is a multifunctional space that combines psychological support, listening and orientation, parenting support, sporting and recreational proposals, contrasting educational poverty. Amadeus will also be cutting the ribbon, after the guests of Rai1’s ‘I soliti ignoti’ show donated over 500 thousand euros to the Cesvi Foundation’s children’s projects and with the support of RAI for ESG sustainability.
The actions related to the Case del Sorriso project are carried out thanks to the work of psychologists, social workers and educators, as well as with the involvement of the community, to raise awareness and disseminate good practices.
The Cesvi Foundation’s Houses of Smiles have existed for years in various places around the world, in regions with the highest levels of poverty and infant mortality. A total of 12 are operational so far, particularly in Brazil, Haiti, India, South Africa, Peru and Zimbabwe. They welcome orphans, minors living on the street or in a state of abandonment, victims of exploitation and violence inside and outside the family context. They are child protection places that offer diversified services: food, medical care, education, professional training, psychological support.
“For years now, Cesvi has intensified its commitment in favor of minors in difficulty in Italy. By bringing the Houses of Smiles to our country, the result of consolidated experience around the world, we want to contribute to the fight against poverty, abuse, neglect and early school leaving, encouraging children in vulnerable situations to realize their ambitions. Child abuse is a problem as widespread as it is little known, just think that the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that for each case reported, another nine do not come to light. With the Case del Sorriso we intend to support children, families and communities, activating a virtuous circle that brings with it protection and prevention” comments Roberto Vignola, deputy general manager of the Cesvi Foundation.
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Blogs | Minors: Cesvi, in Italy the “Case del Sorriso” against ill-treatment – Alley Oop