O abrigo como fator de risco e proteção: indicadores e avaliação institucional.
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Research indicates how foster care institutions problems may harm the development of children and adolescents in need for protection. Thus, a more efficient practice by professionals who work in these entities could contribute with the prevention of deficiencies, which institutionalized children may present. The present work focuses on the role of child protection services and has as general objective to investigate the strategies employed by such professionals, when evaluating foster care institutions, as well as under which quality indicators their assessment behavior is under control. Two studies were carried through in two interior cities of São Paulo estate, Brazil. Four child protection agents, a member of the Municipal Council for the Rights of the Children and the Adolescents, a member of the Social Assistance City Council, the Judiciary power s Social Worker, the town´s Judge, and the Coordinator of the town s single foster care institution participated of Study 1. Study 2 participants were: nine professionals responsible for the foster care evaluation (five Child Protection Agents, one member of the Municipal Council for the Rights of the Children and the Adolescents, the Youth and Child Judge and the city s Prosecutor; as well as five foster care institutions Coordinators). The data was collected by means of interviews, questionnaires and document analysis. Results indicated that the professionals who monitor foster care institutions, in both studies, use, predominantly, local visits to the entity as an evaluation strategy. However, these visits vary in frequency and format (some talk every two to six months with employees and children; while others only observe the functioning of the entity). Quality indicators described as guidelines for the assessment are also varied. The low frequency of reports regarding training aspects of foster care staff and the entity s concern for maintenance of the familiar bonds are of notice.