Child care professionals from Paraguay have met with legal specialists from Switalskis Solicitors to gain insight that will help shape the country’s child protection and care policy.
Switalskis director Ranjit Uppal hosted the delegation in Leeds at The Chambers, where he shared specialist knowledge of the English child care legal process in areas such as the evidence required for welfare decisions, the role of expert witnesses, what constitutes harm and how judges make decisions that are in children’s best interests.
The event was part of a two-week training visit facilitated by international children’s charity Strengthening Families for Abandoned Children (SFAC) in connection with the Paraguay Protects Families (PPF) movement.
The visit aims to give delegates insight into and practical experience of the English child protection and care system that will help them address some of the challenges they face in.
The delegation includes four professionals from Paraguay who specialise in children’s rights and wellbeing, alternative care and adoption. The delegates, who are from the psychology, social work and legal professions, were selected for the visit in light of their advocacy, training or consultant role for Government and in the private sector. The group will advise and report back to the Paraguayan government.
Ranjit Uppal said: “The work SFAC is doing is incredibly important for children across Paraguay. It will help develop policy and change for children to move from children institutions to family-based foster care by helping professionals learn how to put the legal framework in place and help judges decide what is in a child’s best interest.”
Mick Pease, founder and director of SFAC, said: “The visit is designed to give the delegates a better understanding of a child’s journey through the English child care process.
“They will spend time with Leeds local authority safeguarding and foster care teams, visit private foster care agencies, and receive training from SFAC on understanding the impact of trauma on children’s behaviour and wellbeing, how to complete child protection risk assessments, decision-making, and care planning for children looked after.
“This training visit is an invaluable opportunity to help Paraguayan professionals understand UK practice that can give ideas and experiences to help shape child care policy in Paraguay.”
To further extend the training, Ranjit Uppal will visit Paraguay with SFAC in October to lecture to 200 judges, public prosecutors and defenders and to run workshops on child care law and making best interest decision for children.