Sahabat Kapas had the opportunity to participate in two activities related to the issue of child conflict with the law (AKH) at the end of November 2017 in Makassar, South Sulawesi. Representing Sahabat Kapas, Dian Sasmita as Director of Sahabat Kapas was one of the speakers at the workshop on “Development of Integrated Special Protection Services for Children (PKA) in Class II Maros Prison” organized by the Institution of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection (Dinas PPPA) of South Sulawesi Province. In addition, in Makassar, Sahabat Kapas also attended capacity building on the AKH Reintegration Handbook for Service Providers organized by the BaKti Foundation and UNICEF Indonesia.
Not Only Debriefing Skills
On the occasion of speaking in front of policy makers and child service providers in Makassar, Dian explained the certain practice of Sahabat Kapas which had been implemented in four locations in detention centers / prisons / LPKA (Especial Prison for Adolescence) in Central Java. During the seven years accompanying children facing the law, Dian saw that the current trend of child assistance was more focused on training in economic value skills. This is done with the hope that children have the provision of skills that will help the reintegration process in the community and can be used to improve the economic quality of children. However, there are many cases where children continue to carry out post-free recidivism actions even though they have been provided with skills.
From more in-depth experience and observations, Sahabat Kapas saw a lack of a portion of the child’s psychological recovery in prison / remand center / LPKA. The majority of children who break the law are those who have a family dysfunction background. Many of AKH live and grow in a harsh and minimal loving environment so they finally make the wrong choice. The psychological condition of the injured child is what actually triggers the child’s actions to deviate from legal norms and society. However, in the context of child rehabilitation, the implementation shows that only a few service providers which intervene in children’s psychological (psychological) injury problems. In fact, these children have lost a lot of affection from the closest people, so that children feel strange with positive values and norms that apply in society.
Considering the situation, since the end of 2015, Sahabat Kapas enforced children mentoring through a psychosocial approach, such giving a greater portion to psychological recovery and improving psychosocial skills in children. For more than two years running, there have been many positive results that can be seen in assisted children, such as positive changes in children’s behavior and children’s readiness to return to society (resilience).
Touching Heart with Heart
Interacting directly with child protection service providers in Makassar, Dian also underlined the importance of working with the best interests for children principle by excluded the sector egos. Service providers have a vital role to build a comprehensive child protection system. With the existence of a strong service system and supplementary guidebook, it is hoped that these children can recover and return as good members of society. However, by the bureaucratic and procedural aspects, there are things that are more important and must be safeguarded by the child companions, it is the health of heart. Dian said that working in child protection is not only the work of the bureaucracy but the work of the heart.
To change a child’s behavior, we must touch their hearts, and to touch their heart can only be done by also heart.
While in Makassar, Dian and Evi Baiturohmah as the AKH Sahabat Kapas Rehabilitation Program Managers also had the opportunity to meet and interact directly with children in the Class II Maros Prison while visiting the services which available there. The problem encountered in the Maros prison was not much different from the prison / remand center / LPKA problem in Central Java, such as many children were far from family. Children who are forced to live in Maros Prison and come from very far areas often do not get parents’ visits for one reason or another. In fact, parents are a vital factor in children’s rehabilitation efforts.
The condition of children who far away from their parents is a challenge for service providers both from the government and the private sector to provide appropriate interventions. Psychosocial approaches will be an effective step to restore their psychological burden. Psychosocial approaches can be done by providing assistance through sustainable counseling and creative group activities to increase children’s resilience.