SANTIAGO – Chilean President Sebastian Piñera received on Thursday the results of a report on 11 shelters run by the National System for Minors (Sename), an institution that has been widely criticized, as 1,313 children died in its care from 2005-2016.
“The results are sad and at times shocking. Thirty-four percent of the children under the care of Sename do not go to school; 44 percent have fallen behind at school; 48 percent have problems with alcohol or drug consumption,” the president said during a press conference.
Piñera visited the Galvarino shelter in Santiago on Thursday, where in 2016, according to the autopsy, 11-year-old Lisette Villa died from asphyxiation after personnel subjected her to “pain and torment.”
Piñera warned that the government “is not fulfilling its duties, its responsibility of protecting and taking care of our children,” adding that Villa’s death made him “aware of how badly we, as a society, treat children.”
In this sense, the president announced a proposal that would simplify adoption procedures, which currently “take years” to conclude.
Piñera also announced that new children’s shelters would be created that would have a capacity for 15 children, providing personalized care and “the sensation of living at a home and with a family.”