The first lady of the republic, Gabriela de Bukele, announced the preliminary draft of the Law Grow Together for Early Childhood, Childhood, and Adolescence, which will be submitted to the Legislative Assembly for approval.
According to the first lady, this regulation replaces the Law for the Comprehensive Protection of Children and Adolescents (LEPINA) and seeks to guarantee the protection and comprehensive care of early childhood, childhood, and adolescence in all areas.
Gabriela de Bukele explained that actors from both the public and private sectors participated in the construction of the draft, but above all, she indicated that the contributions of children and adolescents were taken into account in its preparation.
The Grow Together Law has three major changes with respect to previous regulations: in the past, the focus was adult-centric; today it is based on the needs of children and adolescents. Previous laws only dealt with problems, today they are prevented. Before, there were no established execution mechanisms; now each institution will have clarity about the processes to follow because there will be a defined care model.
«If the actions, policies, and laws created to protect children and adolescents had worked, we would not be fighting gangs today, because they simply would not exist», First Lady Gabriela de Bukele.
Among the main aspects of the law are: it will be the obligation of the state to invest in early childhood, childhood and adolescence, increasing resources progressively; early childhood is defined and included, which will allow prioritizing policies, projects, and programs specifically aimed at children from 0 to 8 years old; the rights of children and adolescents to actively participate in cultural life, the arts, sports, and recreation are guaranteed.
The right to have an identity document and a unique identification number from birth is also established, which will serve to guarantee that they receive the necessary services and attention for their integral development; and measures are established to avoid re-victimizing children and adolescents in cases of abuse or violence.
Currently, victims are forced to leave their homes and are subjected to repetitive interrogations. The authorities explain that, with the new law, «it will be the aggressor who must leave his home and the first interrogation will be valid for any judicial process to follow.»
«Let’s start well, from the beginning, we are investing in early childhood and giving it a safe environment, at the same time that we are achieving the security and peace necessary to build our future,» said the first lady.