Public Policies at Minas Gerais
Coordination between public authorities and civil society organizations is increasingly important in public policy-making processes. Turning successful projects designed and run by organized civil society into government projects is a means to broadening the scope of potential beneficiaries by using tried and proven methods that are more likely to succeed. This has been the case with Associação Saúde Criança’s social inclusion methodology, which inspired the health and social welfare policy of Belo Horizonte, the capital of the state of Minas Gerais.
The Belo Horizonte city hall was the first local government in Brazil to sign a cooperation agreement aimed at implementing Saúde Criança’s pioneering family action plan (Plano de Ação Familiar, or PAF) at the Jardim Felicidade welfare center as part of the government’s citizenship program.
The PAF program has been traditionally enforced by Associação Saúde Criança at hospitals. However, local authorities in Belo Horizonte have adapted it to address the needs of Jardim Felicidade, a low-income community with a population of 4,500.
The project is entirely run by the municipal department for social policy and the sub-department for social welfare. It combines the experience of Saúde Criança with the welfare structures already in place throughout Belo Horizonte, thus building a social welfare program that encompasses policies in the five areas covered by the PAF program.
The pilot project is already under way. A survey of the local community was undertaken to identify those families with the lowest social indices. The bottom thirty families were selected to take part in the program. Partnerships with other institutions were also established in order to support the provision of services.