This questionnaire has been prepared as part of the Work Plan of the Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of the Child of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter, “the Commission” or “the IACHR”), in cooperation with the regional office of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and is to serve as input in the process of drafting a report on the situation of children and adolescents, who have been placed in residential care and protection institutions in the Americas (hereinafter “the Report”).  The Latin American Regional Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children will be providing support for this endeavor. 


In an effort to prevent the different forms of violence perpetrated against children and adolescents, the IACHR and the Commission’s Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of the Child are focusing on the rights of this population.  Since its creation in 1998, this rapporteurship has been instrumental in helping the IACHR to fulfill its task of protecting the rights of children and adolescents, by releasing thematic studies to the public, providing assistance in setting new legal precedents on this subject matter within the individual case system, supporting investigations relating to a broader range of issues that affect the rights of this population in specific countries of the region, and by conducting country visits and releasing country reports. 


The Report will offer an analysis of the situation of children and adolescents living in either public, private or joint public/private institutions, under State supervision, highlighting the successes achieved and challenges faced by States in abiding by and implementing international human rights standards.  The Report will encompass some of the types of institutions, which are responsible for the full-time care and protection of children and adolescents under order of any public authority.  Specifically, it refers to the following types of child care and protection institutions: i) psychiatric institutions and hospitals; ii) orphanages and “children’s homes” (casas hogar); iii) migrant holding centers; and iv) any residential care centers, where children and adolescents have been permanently placed, as well as other types of institutions. Additionally, when the questionnaire refers to the deprivation of liberty of children and adolescents, the term is understood to mean “any form of detention or imprisonment or the placement of a person in a public or private custodial setting, from which this person is not permitted to leave at will, by order of any judicial, administrative or other public authority.[1]


This questionnaire seeks information for 2011; however, should specific information for that year not be available, please provide the latest available information, indicating year it is from. When the State has additional information, which may be relevant to the drafting of this report, in addition to the information specifically requested in this questionnaire, we would be most grateful if it would be forwarded to the Commission as an attachment to the responses.


Personal information on the children and adolescents mentioned in the responses to the questionnaire shall be kept confidential and remain protected at all times.


Responses to this questionnaire should be submitted no later than August 15, 2100, to:


Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Organization of American States

1889 F Street, NW

Washington, DC  20006





Date: …………………………                State: …………………………




1. State what government offices and institutions were involved in completing the questionnaire.


Name of the person(s) belonging to the office(s) or institution(s):


- Position

- E-mail address

- Telephone number

- Date of completion of questionnaire


2.  State the number and percentage of your country’s population that is under 18 years of age.  Please break down this information into the following categories:


- Age or age brackets (0-3, 4-7, 8-13, 14-18)

- Gender

- Geographic setting: urban – rural

- Ethnic group

- Percentage of child population living under the poverty line stating the standard used to identify the population living under that line.

- Disability

- Orphaned children and adolescents


3. If no information is available that is broken down by age group, then just state the total population that is 18 years of age and under, and older than that age.




4. How many penal or juvenile justice institutions for children and adolescents are there in your country?


- State how many of these institutions only house children and adolescents exclusively for correctional reasons and how many of these institutions also house children and adolescents for reasons of protection or other reasons (such as children living in these types of institution with their mothers).






5. Indicate whether your State has adopted legislative or other measures to bring domestic laws and practices into line with international and regional standards of children’s rights protection.  Attach copies of the respective statutes and regulations.


6. What are the grounds for residential placement in child/adolescent care and protection institutions as provided by national legislation?  (Please attach copies of either the national or federal legislation.)


7. What type of authorities (judicial, administrative or some other type) orders the full time residential placement of children and adolescents in institutions and what are the purposes of care or protection to justify the placement (therapeutic, educational purposes; disciplinary reasons; among others)?


8. How does the law ensure respect for children’s and adolescents’ right to be heard and for their opinions to be properly taken into consideration within the institutionalization proceeding?


9. Does legislation provide for free legal assistance in proceedings to determine whether children or adolescents will be institutionalized for purposes of protection, therapy and for other purposes?  How is this assistance actually provided and what does it involve? 


10. How do the parents and/or caretakers of children and adolescents take part in the proceedings or cases to determine whether or not the latter will be separated from the former and to decide whether the children/adolescents will be institutionalized for purposes of protection, care, etc.?  How is effective participation of the parents and/or caretakers of children/adolescents ensured as well as parents and/or caretakers receiving advisory services within the context of said proceedings or cases?


11. Up until what age can children and adolescents be placed in care and protection institutions?


12. Can institutionalization for reasons of care or protection give rise to the deprivation of liberty? Under what conditions and rationale?  Does legislation set a maximum period of time for this type of measure?




13.  How many full time child/adolescent care and protection institutions are there in your country (including, but not limited to, therapeutic or psychiatric institutions and hospitals and “children’s homes”, migrant holding and full time residential placement centers)?


- State where the institutions are located and what ministry/office or organization they are under or what ministry/office or organization oversees them.


- What is the maximum capacity of each institution and what is the total number of children and adolescents living in each one? 


- Describe the type of each institution (for example: psychiatric; orphanage or children’s home; migrant holding center; and comprehensive care residential placement centers).


14. Do specific institutions only take children and adolescents who have been institutionalized for one particular reason?  (For example, only street children, children without parental care.)


15. How many institutions are exclusively public (State-run and owned), how many are exclusively private (regardless of being under State control or oversight) and how many are a combination of both?


- Describe the nature of each one and state what percentage of the total institutionalized children/adolescent population is living at each type of these institutions. 


- Are there any specific mechanisms in place for monitoring and oversight of the private or joint private/public institutions?  If so, describe said mechanisms in detail.


16. In how many child/adolescent care and protection institutions are juvenile residents placed in the same quarters as the adults?


-  How many institutions place children/adolescents in quarters separate from adults, but adults share some spaces with juvenile residents, such as exercise areas, bathrooms or eating areas?  How many institutions house children/adolescents in an exclusive area?


17. Is any public office responsible for keeping statistics on the operations of the institutions?  Since when have statistics been kept?


18. Is there a public office in charge of registering and licensing institutions?  What requirements must the institutions fulfill for this office to license them? How many institutions have been licensed by the authorities?  Please break them down by type of institution.


19. How are children/adolescents registered and individually identified at the time of placement at the institution?  State specifically whether said registration includes:


-the grounds for placement;

-the entity or agency that ordered and handed over the children/adolescents for placement;

-the name; age; gender; special condition and suggested treatment; clinical history;

-please include any additional categories of information that are registered at the time of placement of children/adolescents.

-if no records are available, please state the percentage of institutions that do not keep a registry and why they were unable to do so.


20. What is the average age of placement at these institutions and what is the average age of release from these institutions?


21. What is the average length of stay and the maximum stay at the institutions?


22. How many children/adolescents were placed at care and protection institutions in 2010?


23. How many were allowed to leave or were released from care and protection institutions in 2010? 


24. State whether children/adolescents living at the different types of care and protection are separated by gender.


- Please specify the total number of children/adolescents who are not separated by gender.


25. How much of the State’s budget is allocated for operation of child/adolescent care and protection institutions?  Please break the total budget down by type of institution.


- How has resource allocation trended over the past five years?


26. What type of training is required of those who work on a permanent basis at child/adolescent care and protection institutions?   How is staff selected?  Please break staff down by type of professionals.


27.  Please attach the code of conduct for the staff or the rules governing the powers and duties of staff, should such a code exist.


28. How many employees work at care and protection institutions and what is the ratio of employees to children/adolescents?  Please break employees down by position.




29. By what means is contact of institutionalized children/adolescents with their family and community ensured?


- Are children/adolescents able to leave the premises to visit family?

-How regularly are the children/adolescents allowed to be visited and for how long?

-What measures are taken to prevent separation of siblings?


30. Are formal schooling and/or job training programs offered?  What specific programs are offered and how many residents are covered?


31. Are any other type of non-formal education and/or socio-educational programs offered at child/adolescent care and protection institutions? What specific programs are offered and how many residents are covered? 


32. By what means is access to health services in general ensured for children/adolescents living in care and protection institutions?  What is covered by these services and describe what they are?


33. How is mental health and therapeutic service ensured at the different types of institution?


34. Are there specific institutions and/or specialized assistance for specific groups of children/adolescents? For which groups and what does the specialized assistance involve?


35. In what situations is the decision made to transfer a child/adolescent from a care and protection institution to a psychiatric institution?  Who makes this decision?


36. Are children/adolescents with mental disabilities placed in the same institutions as the rest of the general population who are institutionalized for reasons of protection?  Specifically mention whether children/adolescents with mental disabilities are at the same institutions as children/adolescents with physical disabilities, and/or at the same institutions as adults with mental disabilities.


37. Are there specialized full time care programs for children/adolescents with a physical disability?  What do these types of programs involve?


38  Are there specialized residential care programs for children/adolescents who use drugs?


39. Is specialized assistance for institutionalized girls provided (such as gynecological care, infant care assistance, parenting counseling, caring for infants facilities)?  Specifically describe this specialized assistance.


40. Specify what disciplinary measures are taken with children/adolescents living at protection, therapeutic, psychiatric institutions, as well as the behavior that triggers a disciplinary measure.  Describe the disciplinary process and attach the rules and regulations on this subject matter.


41. Is corporal punishment specifically prohibited?  If so, attach the rule.  If not, state in what circumstances is it allowed and submit the relevant rules or regulation.


42. Specify the number of children/adolescents that have passed away or have been injured at institutions in 2010.  Specify the causes and the circumstances of the deaths.  Specify how many instances were self-inflicted injuries, injuries caused by other institutionalized children/adolescents and injuries inflicted by institution employees.


43. Report the number of children/adolescents that have been injured at institutions in 2010.  Specify the causes and the circumstances of the injuries.  Specify how many instances were self-inflicted injuries, injuries caused by other institutionalized children/adolescents and injuries inflicted by institution employees. 


44. Specify the number of children/adolescents who have escaped or disappeared from institutions in 2010.  State the causes or circumstances.


45. Do the institutions practice voluntary or involuntary sterilization of children/adolescents?  If so, state how many cases have been registered at each institution breaking them down by age and gender of the children/adolescents and by type of institution where this procedure has been performed. 


46 Are consensual or non-consensual abortions performed on girls at the institutions?  If so, please state how many cases have been registered at each institution breaking them down by the age of the girls/young women and by the type of institution where these procedures have been performed.




47. State whether mechanisms are in place to ensure periodical review of the suitability of the type of institutionalization that has been prescribed. Describe the review process and attach the rules on this subject.


48. Are any mechanisms in place to ensure the regular and independent oversight of child/adolescent care and protection institutions?   Describe the oversight process and attach the rules on this subject. If such mechanisms are in place, specify:


- How many inspections were conducted under this control mechanism last year?


- How many of these institutions were inspected under this mechanism last year? 


Attach the reports on the findings of these inspections.


49. State whether or not a human rights violation complaint process is in place for children/adolescents at institutions.  Describe the process and attach the rules on this subject.


50. How many complaints have been filed in 2010?


- How has the number of complaints trended over the past years?


- How many complaints have lead to a finding of responsibility of employees? What type of complaints have been filed?  What type of punishment was given and who decided the punishment?




51.  Are there policies in place to support the institution of the family?


- What services help to ensure that the children/adolescents can be cared for by their own families (preventing separation from family and supporting reintegration into their families)?  What do these policies involve?  State how far these policies go and how much budget has been allocated to implement them.


52. Does any program offer an alternative to the placement in a care and protection institution (such as foster families, extended family, halfway houses, family support)?


53. Are there plans and/or strategies for the de-institutionalization of the child or adolescent population?  What are those plans?




54. Describe best practices used in your country for children and adolescents living full time at different types of residential care and protection institutions.  If the practice is documented, attach the relevant documents.



[1] United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty (“Rules of Havana”), adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in Resolution 45/113, December 14, 1990.

[2] When the questionnaire requests legislation, all applicable legislation should be included to the extent possible, whether it is national or belongs to a different level of government of a federal State.