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Centro de Integracion Juvenil – Center for Youth Integration

Several weeks ago, the social work students in Cuernavaca visited the Centro de Integracion Juvenil also called the CIJ. This organization was established in the year of 1969 in Mexico City to provide treatment and prevention to young adults who have drug and substance addictions. The organization has served approximately 89,000 people who have suffered from addictions. The CIJ we visited has a team of one doctor, eight medics, five psychologists, and two social workers. We learned a lot more about the role of social workers in Mexico through this visit.
The main responsibility of the social worker is to look at the patient and their environment. Most of the teens CIJ works with live with their families. Contrary to what many of us thought, most clients are voluntary. Social workers at CIJ work a great deal with families to help them support the individual who is receiving services. Although family support is crucial, we were surprised to hear that for safety reasons, social workers do not make home visits. As we have learned, safety is a first priority, but I believe home visits can be extremely beneficial. Termination, a very important stage in the therapy process, is also conducted by the social worker. This process happens when school, work, family are not chaotic and also when the individual has learned how to become self-sufficient.

Social workers also play a key role by developing and implementing a variety of workshops. These are put in place to help the individual with their addictions. Prevention workshops are also an important part of the CIJ. These are held at schools and include topics relating to addiction, violence prevention and developing self-care skills. The social workers´ role is very important to the success seen at CIJ.

The visit to the Centro de Integracion Juvenil was very eye opening and rewarding experience.  We found out a lot more about what services are offered in Mexico as well as how individuals are being helped.  What similarities and differences do you see between the CIJ and organizations you are familiar with?

Something that I found very interesting was that the organization believes that it is not necessary for an individual that is being served to give up their addiction entirely but rather the vital goal is to lower the dosage of the drug. What are some possible benefits and harms this policy have?

-Simone (social work student)