Most of the 86,000 young people in Colombia’s state protection program have suffered stark violations of their rights, causing deficits in education, personal skills, career guidance and social networks. Many age out of the system at age 18 without the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in independent living. Colombia’s national unemployment rate for youth ages 14-26 is 22% and higher for young women (32% vs. 15% for young men). Graduates of the state protection system often lack work experience, which makes it difficult for them to obtain employment.
Founded in 2003, Fundación Formación d’Futuros (FFF) is a thought leader in the field of preparing youth in Colombia’s state protection programs to successfully integrate into society when they age out of the system at 18. The organization is paving the way in developing life skills and job skills programming and curricula for institutionalized youth, many of whom have developmental delays and learning difficulties. FFF has a close working relationship with the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF), having informed ICBF’s guidelines on working with institutionalized youth, and sees continued opportunities to influence ICBF and public policy discussions regarding young people aging out of the system. FFF also hosts an annual National Meeting on Protection Exiting that raises awareness about graduates of state protection programs and puts this issue on the public agenda.
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