July - October 2017
"If no one had acted to improve my situation [living in institutional care], I could still be mingling with rats which  was the order of the day, scabies on me and so much more. Believe me, as someone  who has survived violence, it never leaves you the same. The repercussions are grave  and damaging. However, I am not what I went through: I am the courage that  escaped, the spark that lit the fire as so many child survivors are." 

"Think of this, as we sit here today, a child has been defiled by a stranger. Another one is being bullied by a school prefect. One has been abandoned to the mysteries of the streets, a girl somewhere in Maasai land is going through FGM. These children could be your sister, your brother, your grandchild, your niece or nephew and if not your relatives, they are your fellow human beings entitled to human rights. Distinguished child protection professionals and stakeholders, children's rights are human rights!"

- Ruth  Wacuka, Careleaver, Keynote Address at the Africa Expert Consultation on Violence against Children in All Care Settings 


This Focus Section brings together research and other recent documentation on a particular theme or region. Its aim is to draw attention to the growing body of knowledge developing on the issue and help busy practitioners keep abreast of learning and changes.

In recent months, important new developments in research, policy and practice have drawn attention to the links between children's care and violence.  In this issue we highlight some of the key contributions dedicated to better understanding and addressing violence against children (VAC) in all care settings at national, regional, and global levels. 

In June, Better Care Network partnered with the African Child Policy Forum to convene 40 leaders in Africa for the Africa Expert Consultation.  During this two-day meeting, participants shared and discussed information about VAC in all types of care environments and formulated a set of recommendations for preventing and responding to VAC in Africa. The Final Report provides the details of the Africa Expert Consultation, and the accompanying Annex compiles the presentations delivered at the meeting into a single document. The Conference Declaration, endorsed by all participants, expresses the commitment to end violence against children in all care settings and calls upon national, regional, pan-African and global actors to address the issue through a set of specific and practical recommendations. Media highlights included an article by Mtoto News and a social media report created by BCN. 

Our recently published discussion paper explores the interlinkages between VAC and children's care in the African context. T he discussion paper identifies gaps in knowledge and interventions and presents key considerations for policy and practice, calling for a coordinated approach between the VAC and care sectors to address violence against children in all care settings strengthen family care, prevent unnecessary  family separation, and support family  reintegration or placement in family based  alternative care. Also, check out the accompanying policy brief and infographic.

The 2017 Global Flagship Report from the Know Violence Initiative provides a global overview of violence against children, the risks it poses for children and their communities, and how children respond to violence. The report explores experiences of violence against children in homes and families, institutions and family-based alternative care settings, and street-connected situations. Ending Violence in Childhood identifies strategies for violence prevention on individual, community, and larger systems levels, including recommendations to strengthen families, prevent institutionalization, and improve alternative care. 

This Special Issue of the Journal of Psychology, Health and Medicine contains fifteen papers commissioned by the Know Violence Initiative. Together, these papers illustrate the complexity of violence experienced by children and present evidence-based strategies for addressing and preventing childhood violence. One of the papers in the special issue, entitle Child violence experiences in institutionalized/orphanage careexamines the evidence on the prevalence of violence in institutional care, identifies and analyzes the interventions utilized to reduce violence, and provides the latest evidence on child neglect in institutional care and its effects on cognitive development. 

This book from Springer International Publishing contains twenty-four chapters of research that examine the institutionalization of children, child abuse and neglect in residential care, and interventions preventing and responding to all forms of maltreatment against children living in alternative care settings around the world. 

Too Hard? Highly Vulnerable Teens in Tasmania
This report produced by Anglicare Tasmania investigates and documents the experiences of abuse, neglect, abandonment and trauma for a cohort of highly vulnerable children in Tasmania, Australia, whose needs for care have fallen outside of families and between government agencies and non-government services. The report also documents past responses to these young people and provides recommendations to engage, care for, and protect highly vulnerable teens. 

Understanding the linkages between social safety nets and childhood violence: a review of the evidence from low- and middle-income countries

The construction of child neglect in English-speaking countries: Children, risk and poor families

How safe are our children? The most comprehensive overview of child protection in the UK 

Preventing Household Violence: Promising Strategies for Humanitarian Settings

Ending Violence Against Children: Opportunities 
Violence Against Children Questionnaire - Experiences from Social Service Workers
Storytelling is a powerful tool we can use to share and learn from one another. The  Global Social Service Workforce Alliance has created a questionnaire to collect the stories of social service workers around the globe to learn from and draw connections between their experiences working with families affected by violence.  Learn more about this project and submit your story  here

Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities introduces Ending Violence Against Children Learning Hub (EVAC Hub) 
Policymakers, practitioners and researchers are invited to join the EVAC Hub, a collaborative effort  dedicated to better understanding the role of religion and faith actors in protecting children against violence. Learn more about joining here

Understanding the Situation
The Effects of Socioeconomic Vulnerability, Psychosocial Services, and Social Service Spending on Family Reunification: A Multilevel Longitudinal Analysis
Published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, this paper examines the extent to which socioeconomic vulnerability, psychosocial service consultations, and preventative social services spending impacts the reunification for children placed in out-of-home care in Canada.

Preventing Parent-Child Separation: Myths and Facts from a KAP Survey in Central and Western Liberia
This paper in Global Social Welfare presents the findings from a population-based, multi-stage random cluster knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) survey of child caregivers in Liberia, revealing the primary reasons for parent-child separation and common misconceptions about alternative care. 

The Orphan Industrial Complex: charitable commodification and its consequences for child protection in Africa
This presentation delivered by Dr. Kristen Cheney, International Institute of Social Studies, describes her research findings on the "Orphan Industrial Complex," which suggest that orphanage tourism and volunteering, and donor support for orphanages, are the primary drivers of the unnecessary separation of children from their families and the harmful institutionalization of children in Africa

Children returning from care: The challenging circumstances of parents in poverty

ACE, Place, Race, and Poverty: Building Hope for Children

Left behind: How to encourage biological parents' involvement in their children's group homes

The relationship of relative child care and parenting behaviors in fragile families

Portuguese adopted adolescents' perception of attachment relationships to parents

Transition Programming for Sustainable Livelihoods Beyond Institutional Care in Zimbabwe: Service Providers' Perspectives

Comparing Long-Term Placement Outcomes of Residential and Family Foster Care: A Meta-Analysis

Early care and education arrangements and young children's risk of foster placement: Findings from a National Child Welfare Sample

Neural and Cognitive Factors Influencing the Emergence of Psychopathology: Insights From the Bucharest Early Intervention Project 

Language and Psychosocial Skills of Institutionalized Children in Greece

Care-criminalisation: The involvement of children in out-of-home care in the New South Wales criminal justice system

Policies and Standards
General Comment No. 5 (2017) on the right to live independently and being included in the community
The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities adopted General Comment No. 5 on Article 19 of the Convention, which states that all children have the right to grow up with a family and that institutions, regardless of size or quality, are not substitutes for care by a family. 

Modern slavery and global supply chains: Interim report of the Joint Standi
ng Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade's inquiry into establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia
This interim report from the Parliament of Australia's Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade presents its recommendations on the ad

option of a Modern Slavery Act in Australia, with consideration to the trafficking, forced labor and exploitation of children through orphanage tourism.

Draft National Standards for Children's Residential Centres

Child Welfare and Youth Homelessness in Canada: A
Proposal for Action

Learning from Practice
Care for left-behind children in rural China: A realist evaluation of a community-based intervention
This study featured in Children and Youth Services Review evaluated the feasibility, community acceptance, preliminary outcomes, and potential sustainability of a community-based intervention, which provided left-behind children in rural China with opportunities to participate in play and educational activities. 

Care and Connections: Bridging Relational Gaps for Foster Youths
This report from the Brookings Institute explores the challenges of implementing and evaluating relationship-based interventions for young people with experience in the U.S. foster care system and presents recommendations for both practitioners and researchers for successful implementation and evaluation in the future. 

Youth Initiated Mentors: Do They Offer an Alternative for Out-of-Home Placement in Youth Care?
This study in the  British Journal of Social Work evaluates the Youth Initiated Mentoring (YIM) program, which allows youth with complex needs in the  Netherlands to nominate a mentor from their own social network to collaborate with care professionals and their families as an alternative to out-of-home placement. 

Structural Challenges of Holiday Placement Programmes for Children in SOS's Children Village, Zimbabwe

Successes and challenges in developing trauma-informed child welfare systems: A real-world case study of exploration and initial implementation

Caregiver-child interaction, caregiver transitions, and group size as mediators between intervention condition and attachment and physical growth outcomes in institutionalized children

In this issue, we highlight the care-related Concluding Observations adopted by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at its 17th Session held in March and April 2017 and the Committee on the Rights of the Child at its 75th Session held in May and June 2017, with a particular focus on sections addressing children's care.
Click below to read the Country Care Reviews for the following countries:
CRPD: 17th Session
CRC: 75th Session


Changing the Way We Care | A Family Torn
All over the world, children are placed in institutions because their families do not have the resources to care for them. In this short film, a mother makes the difficult decision to leave her daughter to the care of an orphanage.

A short film by Catholic Relief Services for Changing the Way We Care,
a joint project with Lumos and Maestral International

ACCI Missions & Relief explains how short-term missions in orphanages are harmful to children, why volunteers should avoid volunteering in orphanages overseas, and what kind of programs should be supported instead. 

Going on a short-term missions trip
Animated video on short-term missions in orphanages

Orphanage Tourism and Modern Slavery
In this interview, Kate van Doore describes her testimony to the Australian Government Inquiry on establishing a Modern Slavery Act, which focused on the links between orphanage tourism and child trafficking. 

ABC News Interview with Kate van Doore


Nepal: Saving Nepal's children from growing up in prison
11 Oct 2017 - BBC News

South Africa: SA foster care crisis
6 Oct 2017 - The Post 

Rwanda: Inside Rwanda's shocking orphanages marked for closure
3 Oct 2017 - iNews

Myanmar: Government and UNICEF take critical step to improve the lives of children living in residential facilities
26 Sep 2017 - UNICEF Myanmar

U.K./Global: It's hard enough as a foster child without being demonised
21 Sep 2017 - The Guardian

Sri Lanka: 'There were a lot of baby farms': Sri Lanka to act over adoption racket claims
20 Sep 2017 - The Guardian

Nigeria: Lagos Considering Review Of Adoption Processes
18 Sep - PM News

Japan: Behind the Scenes / How can a foster parent system take root?
17 Sep 2017 - The Yomiuri Shimbun

England: Study finds 'shocking' lack of support for young people leaving care
14 Sep 2017 - The Big Issue

Bangladesh/Myanmar: Hundreds Of Rohingya Children Arrive In Bangladesh Alone
13 Sep 2017 - Agence France-Presse

Peru: Peru Should Think Outside the 'Baby Box'
12 Sep 2017 - U.S. News

Iraq/Russia: Hundreds of Russian children found in Mideast orphanages
5 Sep 2017 - Al-Monitor

India: Child trafficking, 'manufactured orphans': The dark underbelly of inter-country adoption in India
3 Sep 2017 - FirstPost

Uganda: Mukono leaders halt registration of orphanages
1 Sep 2017 - Daily Monitor

New Zealand: UN report backs call for inquiry into state abuse
30 Aug 2017 - SCOOP Independent News

Jamaica: New software to greatly improve monitoring of children in care
18 Aug 2017 - Jamaica Observer

Australia/Cambodia: The race to rescue Cambodian children from orphanages exploiting them for profit
18 Aug 2017 - The Guardian

Australia: Changes to Secrecy Provisions for Detention Centre Workers
14 Aug 2017 - Pro Bono News

Canada: New study suggests link between foster care system and youth homelessness
9 Aug 2017 - The Canadian Press

Guatemala: Victory in Guatemala - right to live in the community
9 Aug 2017 - Disability Rights International 

Global: Family-Based Care: A Better Way for Children Than Orphanages
4 Aug 2017 - National Catholic Register

Uganda: First Lady calls for sustained investment in children
4 Aug 2017 - New Vision 

India: The scandal of the missing children abducted from India's railway stations
29 Jul 2017 - The Guardian

Malaysia: Review rules for fostering and adoption
25 Jul 2017 - The Star Online

Cambodia: Orphanages no place for infants, government says
21 Jul 2017 - Khmer Times

India: 17,000 from child care homes reunited with parents in 6 yrs in Tamil Nadu
21 Jul 2017 - Times of India

Czech Republic: Právo: More Czech children returning from institutions to parents
20 Jul 2017 - Prague Daily Monitor

Global/Australia: Modern slavery and tourism: when holidays and human exploitation collide
19 Jul 2017 - The Conversation

South Korea: Korea child law sees more babies abandoned
18 Jul 2017 - The Korea Herald 

Haiti/Global: Charities and voluntourism fuelling 'orphanage crisis' in Haiti, says NGO
14 Jul 2017 - The Guardian

Global: The orphan myth: Exposing the truth about orphanages
12 Jul 2017 - The CRUX

Senegal: Senegal fails to stop abuse of children in Qur'anic schools
12 Jul 2017 - The Guardian 

Tasmania: Children as young as 10 are living alone and without proper care, according to a new report
10 Jul 2017 - Mercury

U.S.: Children of the Opioid Epidemic Are Flooding Foster Homes. America Is Turning a Blind Eye.
1 Jul 2017 - Mother Jones


Caring for Vulnerable Children Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)
23 Oct 2017 (start date) - Online

4th Regional Parenting Conference: Embracing technology for safety of children in care settings
23 Oct 2017 - Mangochi, Malawi

Putting Children First: Identifying Solutions and Taking Action to Tackle Poverty and Inequality in Africa
23 Oct 2017 - Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

IFCO 2017 World Conference: Setting Sail from a Safe Port
1-4 Nov - Valletta, Malta

3rd Biennial International Conference on Alternative Care for Children in South Asia 2018
16-17 Mar - Delhi NCR, India

New Editions Consulting seeking USAID Senior Technical Advisor for Children in Adversity
Deadline 27 Oct 2017 - Washington, D.C., USA

Catholic Relief Services seeking 4Children Technical Advisor
Baltimore, MD, USA

Call for Papers: Special Issue for Emerging Adulthood - Care-leaving processes and services in Africa
Deadline 30 Oct 2017

CELCIS seeking International Associate
Deadline 25 Oct 2017 - Glasgow, Scotland 

ChildFund International seeking Senior Advisor, Child Protection in Emergencies
Washington, D.C., USA