alexa Family disintegration in Latin America: the consequences for children.
Social & Political Sciences

Social & Political Sciences

Sociology and Criminology-Open Access

Author(s): Siqueira L

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Abstract PIP: A federal study on children conducted by Brazil's Chamber of Deputies in 1975 concluded that some 25 million children, 40\% of the total population below the age of 18 years, could be classified as disadvantaged. By 1980 this figure was estimated to have grown by an additional 3 million. An estimated 11 million of the disadvantaged children were literally destitute and homeless. They have been abandoned by their impoverished parents to a precarious life on the streets of the major cities of Brazil. The parents of many such abandoned children are recent migrants from rural areas. Unable to find adequate work and too poor to partake of health and other services, such families slip slowly into a state of destitution and disarray. The children end up on the streets where they are abused, exploited, and drawn into lives of crime and violence. Abandoned children are not the only young victims of the imbalances in Brazilian society. As many as 80\% of Brazil's children suffer from some degree of malnutrition. Infant mortality is 84 deaths/1000 compared to an average of 12/1000 for Western Europe. In the Western hemisphere, several nations with lower per capita incomes have made greater progress in reducing infant and child mortality. These facts point up the fallacy of confusing economic growth with development. Economic growth is quantitative, mechanical, and materialistic. Development is organic and includes social dimensions, such as the educational, nutritional, and health status of the population. The problem of the disadvantaged children in Brazil is a problem of families and of the stresses placed on them by rapid, disorienting changes in social, economic, political, and cultural systems. The loss of the traditional functions of the family in the process of technological evolution has throughout modern history placed great strains on the family. This historical tendency toward family disintegration is greatly aggravated throughout the countries of the 3rd and 4th worlds by 3 factors: the pace of economic and social change has become very rapid, breaking down the traditional social institutions before new ones arise; the benefits of economic growth are unevenly distributed; and continued high rates of unwanted fertility have consumed the resources of individual families and of society as a whole. The complex problems that afflict the Latin American countries have no short-term or medium term solutions. Some strengths that would strengthen the socio-familial system in Latin American countries are listed.
This article was published in Draper Fund Rep and referenced in Sociology and Criminology-Open Access

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