Four years ago, the state government of Nuevo Leon launched legislation requiring children’s homes and any institution offering care for minors to complete a licensing and certification process. The legislation was created to set standards across children’s homes in three key areas: record keeping, children’s personal safety and children’s quality of life.
First, a children’s home was required to fulfill a set of requirements to receive a license of operation. The homes were allowed up to two years to complete all licensing mandates. Each home, including the six homes Back2Back partners with in Monterrey, Mexico, worked diligently to complete a long list of mandates, including items from tax regulation, to fire safety, to construction code.
Antonio Garcia, Director of Back2Back Monterrey, said, “In Nuevo Leon, we had more than 50 organizations with minors under their care. Because the licensing requirements were so extensive, many were closed, leaving only 38 in operation. Many children were placed in homes where they would receive better care. However, other homes who had great potential just couldn’t meet the timelines and had to close their doors. Through child sponsorship, mission teams and volunteers, we were able to help the six homes we partner with complete all licensing requirements.”
After licensing, each home then had to begin the certification process, which focuses primarily on child development. For example, homes and institutions must have professionals, such as social workers, psychologist and tutors, working with the children and their families. Social and sports activities must also be offered.
“There has been a real shift in legislation from ‘rescue’ to ‘development.’ Organizations have two years to certify, and this has been very hard for most homes and institutions because they lack resources to hire needed professionals,” said Garcia.
In Monterrey, Imperio de Amor Children’s Home is the first of the six homes partnering with Back2Back to meet all certification requirements, with two other homes very close to being certified.
“Imperio de Amor really understands Back2Back’s vision. They have worked hard toward sustainability and have gathered local resources and established a Board of Directors to help them solidify their operations and grow in their delivery of care. In four years, they have made a real shift from rescue to development,” Garcia said.
With certification complete, Back2Back staff continues to find unique ways to partner with Imperio de Amor in meeting the children’s developmental needs. For example, each Saturday, five teenage boys and Back2Back staff spend the morning mountain biking. Through exercise, deeper connections are being made. As a result, there has been more participation in morning devotional time. Ultimately, mountain biking meets physical needs, but also emotional, social and spiritual needs as well. Back2Back plans to purchase additional bikes to expand the mentorship opportunity to more teens. We are excited to share more as each home completes certification, as well as staff creatively meeting each child’s developmental needs.