Facts & Figures
Casa Alianza Mexico
Year Established: 1988
National Director: Sofía Almazán
For 23 years, Casa Alianza Mexico has provided care and protection for boys and girls who have experienced extraordinary trauma, including abuse, neglect, violence, abandonment, addiction to harmful substances, sexual exploitation and human trafficking.
The rising tide of violence and instability in Mexico over the past two years has made their work even more urgent, as more and more children and teens find themselves victims of various types of abuse and in desperate need of the care they provide.
Programs at Casa Alianza Mexico include 5 small homes in distinct locations in Mexico City that house up to 80 children and teens per night and a separate home for 17 Teen Moms and 24 babies. They also have a fully developed Independent Life Program that prepares youth for life after Casa Alianza and a 24-hour toll-free crisis hotline, Acercatel, which serves youth in crisis across the entire country.
(Sofía Almazán has been the National Director of Casa Alianza Mexico since 2003. Her lifelong work with children and teens in crisis has garnered her the respect and recognition of government and civil society alike and she is one of the country’s most effective advocates for children’s protection and children’s rights)
- In Mexico City alone, approximately 1,900,000 children and teenagers who are the victims of abuse, violence and abandonment are forced to live on the streets.1
- An average of 8 kids are killed on a daily basis2
- The precarious living standards of many children in Mexico force them to try and travel on their own to find new opportunities, most often in the United States.3
- One in 5 teenagers in Mexico does not have the personal or familial income to purchase enough to eat4
- More than 3 million teenagers, between the ages of 12 and 17, are not enrolled in formal education.5
- Over the recent past, there has been a significantly increased incidence of sexual abuse, violent acts, torture and murders of women and girls.6
My name is Sofía Almazán. I am Mexican, I was trained as a clinical psychologist, and I have been the National Director of Casa Alianza Mexico
for the last eight years.
As a child I spent most of my vacations on my grandfather’s dairy farm, and this experience inspired me to do the work I do today. He taught me the value of hard work, and when I would help out with many tasks on the farm, I was rewarded with an enormous sense of satisfaction. The best part of the whole experience was that I was never alone. I was always with many other kids, including the children of those who worked for my grandfather. But that is also where I learned about the vast differences and inequalities in my society—the huge difference between my life and the lives of so many other children who lived in poverty.
I was fortunate—my grandfather and my parents taught and modeled for me the values of justice and honesty and solidarity that I have tried to live out over my decades of working with abandoned and abused youth. But the current reality of children and adolescents in Mexico continues to be tragic. The gap between rich and poor persists, levels of violence are unprecedented, trafficking of children is on the rise, and the number of families suffering poverty, domestic violence and breakdown is increasing--leaving an enormous number of children abandoned and in crisis. These are the young people who come to us—those who are abused, neglected, exploited, homeless, and addicted. There is a tremendous lack of healthy opportunities for these young people, and the situation is one that tempts us to a sense of despair.
However, working with my wonderful team at Casa Alianza Mexico
has given me a new sense of hope and an enormous opportunity to bring together my 30 years of experience working with excluded and marginalized sectors of society, particularly youth. Over the last 23 years of its existence, Casa Alianza Mexico
has built a model of care based on absolute respect and unconditional love, with a multidisciplinary approach that recognizes the potential of each child and provides them with the tools they need to prevail over the crises they are facing. Our methods are creative, as we work with each child individually to help them one day leave us and take their rightful place in society, where they can live in happiness and peace, and enjoy the rights that are due to every Mexican citizen.
I invite you all to find out more about the work we do at Casa Alianza Mexico
on this website and the services and programs we offer to children and teens. We strive to live out the values of our mission every day and at the same time to provide our kids with new opportunities for the future. Thank you all so much for your interest.
Sofía Almazán A.
Casa Alianza Mexico
Programs Unique to Casa Alianza Mexico
Casa Alianza Mexico
has six residential centers. The Cenzontle Homes and Quetzal Homes are divided by gender and by Level, in order to provide specific care to the residents. There is no maximum or minimum time frame that a boy or girl will spend in each of the residential centers, but rather the staff at Casa Alianza Mexico consistently evaluate each child’s progress in achieving their Life Plans, in order to decide when it is advisable to advance to the next level.
Casa Alianza Mexico
also has a residential center for young mothers and pregnant teens between 12 and 22 years of age.
The Cenzontle Community
The Cenzontle Community is the refurbished residential home for boys and teenagers between 12 and 18 years of age, who were formerly housed in our site that burned down in the 2010 fire. The Community has the capacity for up to 30 boys each night, and we are currently filled to capacity with the need for more beds.
The staff in this Home provide the same array of services as in all of our shelters concentrated on helping boys become part of the Casa Alianza
community and to develop their Life Plan. In Level one, the goal is to stabilize the boys in crisis and in Level 2 the boys enter into more formal education and vocational training.
The Cenzontle Home – Level 3 Boys
The staff at the Cenzontle Home provide continuing care and support for boys and teenagers, providing services to assist our kids to build on the progress they have made in Levels I and 2, and prepare them for a safe and successful reintegration into society.
The Home has the capacity for 17 boys a night, and is always full.
The Quetzal Community – Level 1 Girls
The Quetzal Community is for girls who are coming directly off the street in crisis. The goal is to help them leave life in the streets and become part of a community of girls who have had similar experiences. This is the stage when treatment for addictions is initiated for all children since addiction to inhalants and to chemical equivalents of crack is very common.
This Community has the capacity for 18 female residents every night.
The Quetzal Home – Level 2 Girls
When girls advance to Level 2 they are usually ready to participate in more formal programs such as school classes and vocational training. The goal is for them to discover and fortify their many strengths and talents.
The Home has the capacity for up to 16 girls per night.
The Quetzal Home – Level 3 Girls
It is in Level 3 that the girls and young women come into their own—creating a plan and a path for their future outside of Casa Alianza Mexico
. This might be reintegration into their family if that is safe and advisable, or it might be finding an apartment and a job so that they can pursue independent living. Casa Alianza Mexico
has a fully developed Independent Life program offering a whole array of services to youth to prepare them for a life outside of Casa Alianza Mexico
and also provides lengthy follow-up to alumni who have achieved independence, including monthly peer support meetings and help with finding and keeping jobs.
This Home has a residential capacity for up to 18 girls, and is most always operating at full capacity.
The Palomas Home: (Home of the Doves)
The Palomas Home, which is operated in conjunction with another Mexican NGO, provides care and support to teenage and young adult Moms and pregnant girls between the ages of 12 and 22.
The residents are mostly girls who were forced onto the streets by domestic violence and abuse, abandonment, or neglect. Many are also victims of commercial sexual exploitation and became pregnant as a result of the abuses they have suffered.
The staff in the Palomas Home provides the full 3 Levels of care and services for each of the girls, as well as providing support and training in caring for their babies.
The Home has the capacity for up to 17 mothers and 24 babies every night.
Acercatel - "There will always be someone to listen to you"
In addition to all our programs, Casa Alianza Mexico established the groundbreaking Acercatel, a toll-free hotline for children and teenagers in crisis and in need of immediate emergency support.
is an anonymous, confidential and toll-free phone service to support kids in crisis. The phone line, which reaches throughout the country, is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, and receives around 30,000 calls a year from children and teenagers between the ages of 5 and 18.
Kids can call Acercatel
any time to discuss their problems without fear of being judged. Operators are trained to give the kind of support, understanding, and referrals necessary to help kids avoid making decisions that might put their own lives in jeopardy.
In most cases where kids have been abused or exploited, they feel guilty for what has happened and worried about the stigma they will suffer if they tell their stories. Acercatel is an important service that gives youth the space and confidentially to talk through problems, and to find love and support on the other end of the phone line along with good advice.
provides specialist counseling in the following areas:
- Intra-family violence: physical, emotional and psychological
- HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections
- Abandonment (physical and emotional)
The staff of the Luna Program provide specialized care and support to youth in regard to all issues relating to sexuality, sexual health and HIV/AIDS.
A number of the children we care for suffer from HIV/AIDS, and as such, the team works to ensure a comprehensive model of care and support for kids dealing with this disease. The confidential counseling provided by the Acercatel
telephone line is, for many, an extremely important part of this counseling, where kids can talk about their fears and concerns in a safe environment. Acercatel
has also allowed the Luna staff to reach many more kids with HIV/AIDS concerns---not just those living in our residential centers.
Casa Alianza Mexico
has a long and well-established program of advocacy, specific to the realities faced by children and teenagers in Mexico.
Some of the advocacy that is a vital part of the mission of Casa Alianza Mexico
- Casa Alianza Mexico is recognized as a leader in advocating for the passage of new legislation regarding trafficking, migration and child refugees.
- Casa Alianza Mexico has been given the special status of official “Migratory Station” by the Mexican Government Institute of Immigration.
- In May 2011, National Director Sofía Almazán participated in an official visit to the US for a meeting organized by the US State Department, concerning the issue of trafficking. Mexican legislators, prosecutors and judicial authorities also participated in the meeting.
- For over a decade Casa Alianza Mexico has spearheaded the movement to get rid of the stigmatizing term ‘street children’ in Mexico.
- Casa Alianza Mexico is currently advocating for the creation of a new protocol for the treatment of youth addicted to inhalants.
1The Mexico Child Link, http://www.mexico-child-link.org/street-children-definition-statistics.htm
6Amnesty International Annual Report 2011, Mexico, http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/mexico/report-2011