International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Volume 20 Num. 2 - June 2020


Institutional and Family-based Models of Attention for Colombian Child Soldiers from a Psychosocial Perspective

Volume 20 Num. 2 - June 2020 - Pages 189-200


Hudcovská J , Schwanhaeuser K



Volume 20, 2, 2020. To be published June 1st 2020

This qualitative study aimed at analysing the implementation of the strategy of psychosocial accompaniment, its main pillars, gaps and differences between the institutional and family-based models of attention provided to former child soldiers in Colombia. Horizontal relationships based on confidence, guidance directed at empowering the persons, participatory and community-based approaches should form the core of this paradigm. A combination of qualitative methods (semi-structure interviews, field notes from observations, informal talks) and participants (74 adolescents, 42 professionals, 18 foster mothers) was used in this descriptive-analytical study of cross-sectional type. The data were analysed using the deductive content analysis. From the psychosocial perspective, the family-based models permitted more horizontal relationships between the adolescents and the professionals, although the level of confidence remained limited. Within the family environments, adolescents’ autonomy, individual interests and social nets could be enhanced more easily than in the boarding institutions, but in practice it depended on the attitudes of the caregivers. The overprotection of the adolescents within the programme constituted the main obstacle to their real empowerment as subjects of rights. As the results showed, the paternalistic design of the programme, unclear understanding of the psychosocial approach by many professionals and related deficiencies in adequate strategies limit the potential of the psychosocial accompaniment to provide the adolescents with positive outcomes on a psychological and social level. These findings may guide the professionals from different areas when working with vulnerable populations worldwide.

How to cite this paper: Hudcovská J & Schwanhaeuser K (2020). Institutional and Family-based Models of Attention for Colombian Child Soldiers from a Psychosocial Perspective. International Journal of Psychology & Psychological Therapy, 20, 2, 188-200.

Key words:

psychosocial accompaniment, armed violence victims, institutional care, foster-family attention, qualitative research

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