June 2022
Latest Updates on Children's Care

This section includes resources, news and other key documents related to children's care in the context of the current humanitarian crisis affecting Ukraine and surrounding countries. This section is updated daily. For more resources, visit the growing collection of documents in the BCN Ukraine Response Repository.

The aim of this guidance document is to provide a framework to support child protection practitioners and policymakers working both inside Ukraine and in host countries to implement responses related to children’s care in the context of the Ukraine crisis, in line with international standards and good practice on children’s care and the provision of alternative care.

This report presents findings based on cumulative and daily registrations, by the General Inspectorate for Border Police (GIBP), since 24 February 2022 onwards, of movement flows of Ukrainian refugees and third-country nationals (TCNs) entering from Ukraine to the Republic of Moldova from all Border Crossing Points (BCPs) and exiting the country from all BCPs, towards Romania and towards Ukraine, as well as via flights. 

This is a joint call for a moratorium on intercountry adoption in response to the conflict in Ukraine. 

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Understanding the Situation

The purpose of this study was to ascertain the traumatic experiences endured by children in institutional care in Kiambu County, Kenya. The target population for this study was all children in 50 registered institutions of care within Kiambu County aged between 11 and 17 years.

This global report presents key steps that the international community has taken to protect children in situations of armed conflict, with a specific focus on the Security Council-mandated Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) to document grave violations against children and to foster accountability by identifying perpetrators.

Children in care face adverse health outcomes throughout their life course compared with their peers. In England, over the past decade, the stark rise in the number of cared-for children has coincided with rising child poverty, a key risk factor for children entering care. The authors aimed to assess the contribution of recent trends in child poverty to trends in care entry.

This report aims to increase awareness of the scale and severity of the economic crisis in Lebanon over the past three years. It describes how the crisis disproportionately affects children and is likely to have short-and long-term consequences on their future.

This sixteenth issue of the South African Child Gauge focuses attention on child and adolescent mental health and how early experiences of adversity ripple out across the life course and generations at great cost to individuals and society. It calls on South African society to put children at the centre of all policies in order to protect children from harm, build their capacity to cope with stress and adversity, and provide them with opportunities to thrive.

Related Topic: Mental Health

This U.S. based study systematically summarizes the effectiveness of peer parent programs in child welfare on case outcomes, specifically permanency, time-in-care, and re-entry post reunification.

Related Topic: Parent Participation

There is evidence that children in residential care institutions (RCI) have higher rates of psychological problems, suicide and criminal behaviour. There is only one study in Sri Lanka which has examined the psychological well-being of children in RCIs. This study aims to provide further evidence to formulate policies related to the mental health of institutionalized children in the local context.

Related Topic: Residential Care

The aim of this international publication is to highlight the protective aspects related to the child’s identity rights, with a focus on the family relations element, as embedded in international, regional and national standards. The publication provides direction on how to build identity safeguards, drawing on past lessons and capitalising on current opportunities. To do this, the right to identity is explored through a range of examples of existing challenges, promising practices and testimonies.

El estudio de caso, plasmado en una página, está dirigido a posibles donantes, público interesado y actores vinculados a la reforma del cuidado infantil, que desean aprender sobre los procedimientos relacionados con el primer caso exitoso de reunificación familiar a cargo de la Iniciativa Cambiando la Forma en que Cuidamos que opera en Guatemala y además sobre el importante papel de la gestión de casos. El presente estudio de caso fue escrito en julio del 2020, un año después de la reunificación.

This pilot study investigated a sample of caseworkers’ perceptions as related to social services for improving family unity post-reunification, as well as barriers that exist for families accessing social services in rural southeast Georgia in the US.

In China, the figure for left-behind children (LBC) of migrants stood at 68. 77 million in 2015. Despite being seen as a whole in the last few decades, LBC today differ broadly in parental migrating status. This study focused on LBC with both parents migrating (BLBC), LBC with only mothers migrating (MLBC), LBC with only fathers migrating (FLBC), and previous LBC with one or both parents migrating (PLBC), separately. The authors explored the extent to which LBC were being affected by each migrant parent on both mental health and risk behaviors.

Related Topic: Children and Migration

Children placed in residential care are significantly over-represented in youth justice systems. Drawing on interviews and focus groups with service providers in Australia, this exploratory study examines practice factors that impact on the criminalization of this group of children across multiple services and systems, including in the residential care environment, police, lawyers, courts and youth justice systems, as well as multi-systems practice with this group in one Australian state.

Related Topic: Residential Care

This study explores the state of kinship care in British Columbia, Canada, 10 years after the implementation of major policy reform designed by the provincial government to improve services to kinship caregivers.

Related Topic:Kinship Care

With the rapid economic development in China, large numbers of migrants are moving to metropolitan areas in search of better jobs. They are faced with the dilemma of whether to leave their children behind in the countryside due to various socioeconomic factors. The aim of this study was to analyze the impact of different migration arrangements on child welfare in China.

Related Topic: Children and Migration

Institutional childcare is associated with developmental delays and setbacks. Since alternative options are not always available, it is important to investigate youth in institutional settings to evaluate how to provide optimal care.

Related Topic: Strengthening Family Care

This paper found that there was marked overrepresentation of First Nations children in the child welfare system in Ontario, Canada. These children were three times as likely to be investigated as white children and more likely to be placed when controlling for investigation concerns. The paper concluded that recent policy changes have not brought change to this overrepresentation.

Removal from family of origin to state care can be a highly challenging childhood experience and is itself linked to an array of unfavourable outcomes in adult life. This systematic review which included Canada, the US, western Europe, and Australia, aimed to synthetise evidence on the risk of adult mortality in people with a history of state care in early life, and assess the association according to different contexts. 

Concurrent planning is a process by which all options for permanency are considered simultaneously for children in foster care. Children are placed with caregivers (resource parents) who are open to adoption if reunification with birth parents does not occur. This U.S.-based quantitative study explored resource parents’ perceptions of the concurrent planning process via surveys at two time points. Participants included resource parents of 77 infants assessed at 2 months and 1 year after placement.

Related Topic: Permanency Planning

This study investigated the prevalence of and factors associated with complete mental health among a nationally representative sample of Canadians who had contact with child welfare services before age 16.

This paper presents findings from a study on care leavers’ experiences of transitional housing at three institutions in Zimbabwe. Using the social sustainability conceptual framework, the study found that transitional housing offers continuity of care, relationships, and a smoother, gradual transition from care to independence.

Related Topic: Permanency Planning

Child welfare and juvenile justice placed youths show high levels of psychosocial burden and high rates of mental disorders. It remains unclear how mental disorders develop into adulthood in these populations. The aim of this study, based on adolescents in Swiss residential care, was to present the rates of mental disorders in adolescence and adulthood in child welfare and juvenile justice samples and to examine their mental health trajectories from adolescence into adulthood.

Several youth facilities have devoted considerable resources to improving the quality of practice and the interest in understanding the safety needs of youth in residential care has grown. However, there is limited research that considers how youth in residential facilities themselves define and experience safety, what their safety concerns are, and how they would like systems and staff to respond to their needs. Therefore, this current study investigated youth perceptions of safety in residential facilities in Norway and their experiences of and reaction to staff behaviors and attitudes.

Related Topic: Residential Care

This study analyzes the influence of school, family and society on the psychological development of left-behind children in China from the perspective of the factors that affect their psychological problems.

Policies, Standards, and Guidelines

The Kigali Declaration on Child Care and Protection Reform was adopted on June 25th at the closure of the 2022 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda. 

This National Strategy launched by the Government of Kenya was developed with the support of UNICEF and a multisectoral Care Reform Core Team, under the leadership of the National Council for Children’s Services (NCCS). It seeks to guide national steps towards prevention and family strengthening, robust alternative family care, and tracing, reintegration and transitioning from institutional care to family and community-based care for all children in need of care and protection in Kenya.

The purpose of this outcome document is to provide summaries of plenary sessions and the five working groups that took place during the Day of General Discussion that was held in September 2021, and to present a comprehensive set of recommendations on the key themes covered during the preparatory processes leading up to the DGD, including through hundreds of written submissions, a global survey of children and young people with care experience, and during the DGD itself.

Next Steps sets out an ambitious reform agenda building on the positive outcomes seen through the implementation of the previous A Step Up for Our Kids strategy and addresses the continuing challenges seen in the child and youth protection system in Australia. Next Steps is an evolution of A Step Up and will see various original elements matured, extended and expanded.

Related Topic: Strengthening Family Care
Learning from Practice

El presente documento pretende presentar una estrategia integral que involucre cuidadosamente al sector basado en la fe de Guatemala, con el objetivo de apoyar y promover el cambio en la forma en que el cuidado de los NNA es proporcionado por estos actores importantes y alineado con la visión de CTWWC.
This document aims to present a comprehensive strategy that carefully engages the Guatemalan faith-based sector, with the aim of supporting and promoting change in the way care for children and adolescents is provided by these important actors and aligned with the vision of CTWWC.

This toolkit was developed with and for philanthropic funders who want to better understand how to support child and youth participation. It builds on an ECFG study published in 2021, Shifting the Field: Philanthropy’s Role in Strengthening Child- and Youth-Led Community Rooted Groups, which maps current practices in philanthropic support for child- and youth-led work at the community level and provides strategic advice to donors on how to strengthen their funding modalities through participatory approaches.

Related Topic: Child Participation

This paper presents a case study that discusses the lived experiences of two LGBTQA + young people who have been in out-of-home care in Australia, focusing particularly on the influence of relationships on their developing sexual identity.

Related Topic: Residential Care

This advocacy guide provides ideas and tools for making a case in favour of the inclusion of SBC approaches in the portfolio of solutions embraced by local and national governments, donors and other stake-holders. It includes both a foundational framework as well as worksheets that can be used to elaborate and contextualize advocacy messages intended for delivery to key stakeholders. This guide can be used in concert with the INSPIRE Indicator Guidance and Results Framework and the INSPIRE Handbook.

This insight draws on research and policy, as well as practice experience to explore friendship, why it matters and how it can be better supported. It looks critically at the nature of friendship and the impact that aspects of the ‘care system’ can have on children and young people making and maintaining friends. It highlights how significant friendships can be for children and young people who are ‘looked after’ in the UK.

Related Topic: Residential Care

The main goal of this exploratory and descriptive study is to understand the perceptions of Portuguese child protection professionals concerning Family foster care. 101 participants, from different professional backgrounds and child protection contexts, filled out a questionnaire. Main findings show a heterogeneous degree of familiarity to FFC, and a generally positive although reserved attitude to it.

Related Topic: Strengthening Family Care

This study investigates how experiences and practices of transnational care arrangements are negotiated from the perspective of the non-parental carers. It specifically aims to understand its dynamics and patterns in shaping care relationships, normative familial values and the hope to reconstitute the family amidst migration-induced care.

Related Topic: Kinship Care

This webinar was co-hosted with the Changing the Way We Care (CTWWC) initiative and it focused on the experience and practices of Catholic affiliated organisations working to advance safe and nurturing family care for children around the world.

This webinar focused on the themes and recommendations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s Day of General Discussion (DGD) about the rights of children and young people in alternative care and the implications for children and adolescents in Scotland.

The webinar, hosted by Transform Alliance Africa, provides an overview of the progress and findings from their youth wellbeing project. This project is a community mental health initiative led by care experienced youth that aims to develop a safe transition pathway for young people leaving orphanages and provide support to young people experiencing well being and mental health challenges in the community.

The Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Learning Platform hosted a webinar on June 22, 2022, featuring speakers from UNICEF's head office and the Better Care Network who provided detailed examples on the importance of data in Uganda's care reform processes. This purpose of this webinar was to examine the importance of using data to inform care reform, and how data can be collected and used effectively.
Santosh Sharma Poudel - The Diplomat 30 Jun 2022
Mehran Bhat - The Diplomat 28 Jun 2022
Richard Engel - NBC News 13 Jun 2022
Susan Dominus - The Sydney Morning Herald 10 Jun 2022
Jacinta Mutura - The Standard 10 Jun 2022
Mark Townsend - The Guardian 05 Jun 2022
Michael Sheen - BBC Wales Investigates 04 Jul 2022
Anthony Deutsch, Stephanie van den Berg - Reuters 03 Jun 2022

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Newsletter participants, currently 4,709 in total, work on issues related to the care and support of vulnerable children across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas. The purpose of the newsletter is to enable members to exchange information on matters of mutual concern. If you would like to share a document, raise a specific issue, request a newsletter subscription, or reach out in any other way to the Network, please send the information to us at contact@bettercarenetwork.org or visit our website at www.bettercarenetwork.org. 

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