October 2019
Special Issue on Family Strengthening and Preservation
“I never used to have time, but through [creating] quality time, we started interacting and we opened up our hearts to each other.
I now know my children’s challenges and can encourage them.”

- Caregiver from Masaka District, from Strengthening Caregiver Parenting Skills for Family Reintegration

Focus on Family Strengthening & Preservation
The Focus Section brings together research and other documentation published over the past year or two 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.

This resource guide from FHI360 aims to assist program designers, funders, and implementers to select and incorporate appropriate and effective household economic strengthening (HES) measures into programs to preserve or reestablish family care for children.

The  Accelerating Strategies for Practical Innovation and Research in Economic Strengthening (ASPIRES) Family Care Project focused on how economic strengthening (ES) interventions can help prevent unnecessary separation of children from families as well as support the reintegration into family care of children who were already separated. This mixed methods evaluation from FHI 360 was implemented alongside programming that included longitudinal quantitative data collection with all participating FARE and ESFAM households in Uganda at three time points to assess a range of indicators related to household economic and family well-being, as well as in-depth, longitudinal qualitative research to help understand how (well), from participants’ perspectives, the FARE and ESFAM interventions aligned with perceived drivers of separation and families’ experienced child-level effects of programming. 

In support of the ASPIRES project's objective to assess the effects of different types of economic strengthening activities integrated with family support activities among targeted families, the Family Care project designed a mixed methods evaluation to be implemented alongside programming. The findings presented in this report from FHI 360 are derived from the longitudinal descriptive data generated as part of the evaluation design.

The Family Resilience (FARE) project was developed to help build the evidence base on how to appropriately match economic strengthening (ES) activities with families at risk of family-child separation and with families in the process of reintegrating a previously separated child. The project offered an opportunity for learning about how to provide ES and other family strengthening services and how well they worked. This report focuses on the latter and summarizes changes in key indicators related to family-child separation over the course of the project.

The Economic Strengthening to Keep and Reintegrate Children in Family Care (ESFAM) project was developed to help build the evidence base on how to appropriately match economic strengthening (ES) activities with families at risk of family-child separation and with families in the process of reintegrating a previously separated child. In addition to supporting families, ESFAM offered an opportunity for learning about how to provide these services and how well they worked. This report focuses on the latter and summarizes changes in key indicators related to family-child separation over the course of the project.

This report describes the FARE project - a subproject of ASPIRES in Uganda that sought to develop evidence and programming guidance for matching contextually appropriate economic interventions with specifically targeted households to reintegrate separated children into families and prevent unnecessary separation of children from their families - and summarizes achievements, challenges, and learning.

This final report describes the Economic Strengthening to Keep and Reintegrate Children into Families (ESFAM) project in Uganda and presents findings from an evaluation of the program, including its implementation and outcomes as well as its impacts. 

This Learning Brief from ChildFund International and FHI 360 draws on information collected via focus group discussions, individual interviews, and project data to describe ESFAM’s experience with and learning from its MSA intervention in Uganda , which aimed to encourage families to save for educational expenses, so that they would not have to send their children to residential care institutions for school. Read also: Economic Strengthening to Keep and Reintegrate Children into Families: Children and Youth Savings Groups – A Learning Brief

This report compiles presentations and notes from the ASPIRES Family Care Uganda Learning Event, 'Economic Strengthening and Keeping Children in Family Care', held May 29-30, 2018. The event aimed to offer practitioners and other stakeholders an opportunity to learn from each other about programming related to reintegration, prevention of family-child separation and highly vulnerable families, especially in relation to economic strengthening (ES).

This video presents the work of the FARE family strengthening program in Uganda to prevent separation of families and reintegrate children who are separated from their families. It features the story of one young person and his family who were impacted by the program, as well as interviews with the social workers and staff who supported the child and his family.

This Practitioner Brief from the the Coordinating Comprehensive Care for Children (4Children) project presents key learning and recommendations regarding strengthening parenting skills from the Keeping Children in Healthy and Protective Families (KCHPF) project in Uganda . The KCHPF project supported the reintegration of children living in residential care back into family care through the provision of a household-based parenting program, individualized case management support and a reunification cash grant aimed at strengthening the reintegration process.

This Practitioner Brief from Coordinating Comprehensive Care for Children (4Children) presents key learning and recommendations regarding the adaptation of an existing parenting program to the Ugandan context from the Keeping Children in Healthy and Protective Families (KCHPF) project, which supported the reintegration of children living in residential care back into family care in Uganda .

The authors of this study from Early Child Development conducted a pre-post design with 6–13-month follow-up to assess the feasibility and acceptability of a home-visiting intervention to promote early childhood development, improve parenting and shared decision-making, and reduce violence in impoverished Rwandan households.

This report from the Centre for Social Development in Africa (CSDA), University of Johannesburg presents the findings of an intervention study evaluating the short-term outcomes of Sihleng’imizi Family Programme in South Africa , an evidence-based preventative social-educational intervention for Child Support Grant (CSG) beneficiaries and their families to improve child well-being.

This report presents findings from the Urban Institute's impact analysis of a program that provided supportive housing to families in the child welfare system in the U.S . The study found that, with subsidized housing, families become more stable. Some sites were able to keep children with their parents and reduce families’ involvement with the child welfare system.

Since failed reunification is a detrimental outcome for children, particularly infants and toddlers, the aim of this study from the Infant Mental Health Journal was to gain insight into support to families in multiple-problem situations in the Netherlands to help them achieve sustainable good-enough parenting. The study examined outcomes of an assessment-based inpatient family preservation program. 

According to this research from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, the unintended consequences of limited housing pathways puts Indigenous women in Australia at significant risk of having their children removed by Child Protection. The research examines how housing and other service responses need to be improved to meet the needs of Aboriginal individuals and families in the aftermath of domestic and family violence.

More Than Our Stories

This webinar - presented by the Kenya Society of Care Leavers (KESCA) , the Uganda Care Leavers (UCL) , The Better Care Network and Changing the Way We Care - offered policy makers, practitioners, advocates and careleavers a unique opportunity to listen and learn from two leaders of careleaver associations who highlighted two recent documents that illustrate the careleaver experience within and outside of care: How to Engage Care Leavers in Care Reform  and  The Care Leaver Experience: A Report on Children and Young People’s Experiences in and After Leaving Residential Care in Uganda

New from the United Nations

In its resolution 73/155, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to submit to it at its seventy-fourth session a comprehensive report on the rights of the child containing information on the status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, with a focus on children without parental care. The present report outlines legal and normative framework related to children without parental care, programmatic advances for children without parental care, ongoing challenges to care reform, and conclusions and recommendations.

The present report from the Independent Expert leading the global study on children deprived of liberty summarizes the detailed findings of the global study on children deprived of liberty, the first scientific attempt, on the basis of global data, to comprehend the magnitude of the situation of children deprived of liberty, its possible justifications and root causes, as well as conditions of detention and their harmful impact on the health and development of children.

This report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children highlights action taken at national and regional levels towards realizing the right of every child to protection from violence.

This general comment from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child addresses children's rights in the child justice system. The general comment notes several concerns and recommendations regarding the deprivation of liberty of children, including the consideration of the child's best interests, the need to promote successful reintegration of children, and the recognition of the harm caused by deprivation of liberty.

Understanding the Situation

This report from UNICEF, the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance, and Maestral International is a review of the social service workforce in eight countries: Djibouti , Iran , Jordan , Lebanon , Morocco , Palestine , Sudan and Tunisia . The report shows that gaps in workforce support and funding negatively affect the quality and effectiveness of social services, leading to missed opportunities for protecting children.

The purpose of this presentation by Charles Zeanah is to summarize findings from the Bucharest Early Intervention Project (BEIP) - a randomized, controlled trial of foster care (FC) as an alternative to institutional care conducted in Romania - regarding psychopathology and competence in children through age 12 years who have experienced social neglect in early childhood.

The authors of this review from the U.S. Office of Inspector General conducted qualitative analysis to identify the most significant challenges that facilities faced in addressing the mental health needs of children in the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) custody.

This rapid evidence review is intended to contribute to the drafting of authoritative guidance to assist courts in the UK in making Special Guardianship Orders (SGOs) and to help inform decision-making by frontline practitioners.

This report is based on research in the French Department of Hautes-Alpes between January and July 2019 in which Human Rights Watch researchers interviewed fifty-nine boys, one girl, and one adult man who had recently turned 18, all of whom had migrated to France unaccompanied.

Related Topics: Children and Migration
This study from Children and Youth Services Review reports on a qualitative investigation involving 15 young kinship care alumni in Ghana to explore what kinship caregivers' unpreparedness means and what causes them to be unprepared. 

Policies, Standards, and Guidelines

This report, published by Lumos with contributions from a range of experts, defines the  global problem of institutionalization of children - including the factors that drive it and the harmful impacts it has on children's physical and cognitive development - and proposes global solutions in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action (CPMS), originally launched in 2012, set out a common agreement on what needs to be achieved in order for child protection in humanitarian settings to be of adequate quality. Years of implementing the CPMS in diverse settings revealed the need for a more user-friendly version of the Standards that would reflect recent sector learning and evidence; improve guidance on prevention, gender and age inclusion, and other cross-cutting themes; and promote applicability to a broader range of humanitarian contexts. Therefore, the Standards were updated in 2019 through a two-year revision process.

On 18 October 2019, the UK Government updated its guidance on gap years and volunteering overseas to include an advisory on volunteering at and visiting orphanages abroad. 

The Lanzarote Committee, the Council of Europe body overseeing the implementation by states of the Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (“Lanzarote convention”), has adopted a declaration on ”Protecting children in out-of-home care from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse,” according to this news release.

This paper from Family Demography and Post-2015 Development Agenda in Africa examines all policy and laws related to families in the South, West, East and Central regions of sub-Saharan Africa .

This Quick Reference Guide from Save the Children is a practical guide for all stakeholders who hope to implement a government-led, cross-border coordination mechanism for the protection of children who are unaccompanied and separated while in situations of migration or displacement in Eastern and Southern Africa .

This guidance note was developed by ReThink Orphanages Australia and the ACFID Child Rights Community of Practice to assist charities with overseas activities involving residential care for children in their efforts to comply with the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission ( ACNC)’s External Conduct Standards (ECS). Comprised of a set of four standards, the ECS were developed to improve transparency and public confidence by requiring charities to take steps to ensure: funds and resources are used for legitimate charitable purposes; activities and services assist legitimate beneficiaries; and vulnerable individuals are protected from harm, abuse and exploitation in the context of charities’ overseas activities.

The focus of this training is on building the knowledge and capacity of care professionals from Greece , Belgium , Malta and Romania to prevent, identify and respond to gender-based violence (GBV) affecting children and youth on the move, including unaccompanied minors.

The International Forum for Volunteering in Development (Forum) has developed The Global Standard for Volunteering for Development (the Global Standard) to help organisations understand and deliver Responsible and Impactful Volunteering, and to encourage learning and continuous improvement in development projects involving volunteers. The Global Standard offers key actions and indicators for each of the four themes - Designing and Delivering Projects, Duty of Care, Managing Volunteers, and Measuring Impact - including several indicators related to orphanage volunteering.

In this paper from Fiat Iustitia, the authors analyze the national regulatory framework of the Republic of Moldova in light of its compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, in the context of commitments made in support of young people who leave alternative care on the grounds of age.

Learning from Practice

This article from the Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies journal presents lessons learned from a RISE Learning Network learning project focused on monitoring (M&E Learning Project) and aimed to generate understanding of approaches and tools that could effectively monitor children and families’ reintegration outcomes. The mid- and end-term reviews of the M&E Learning Project have captured lessons learned on how practitioners can approach monitoring of reintegration to mainstream it into their programme cycle.

As technology enhancements effectively augment family-based interventions, the purpose of this study from the Children and Youth Services Review was to pilot a smartphone application (app) in the context of a trauma and behavior management-informed training for foster and kinship caregivers.

This research from the Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal investigated the psychosocial-support provision for learners from child-headed households (CHHs) in five public high schools in South Africa

This book provides training modules for rights-based integrated child protection service delivery systems at the secondary and tertiary prevention levels. Modules in the book include: Children Without Parental Care and Need for Integrated Alternative Childcare Centres , Children and Families in Specific Risk Situations and Need for Support Services , Specific Alternative Childcare Services , and more.

In this issue, we highlight the care-related Concluding Observations adopted by the  Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities  at its  22nd session  held
 26 August - 20 September 2019 , with a particular focus on sections addressing children's care.
Click below to read the Country Care Reviews for the following countries:

This documentary from CBS News takes viewers inside the real-life challenges facing migrant families split apart by the Trump administration's "Zero Tolerance" policy in the U.S.

4 November 2019
6-8 November 2019
Sofia, Bulgaria
7 November 2019
20 November 2019
New York & Geneva
20 November 2019
Edinburgh, Scotland
2 December 2019
Kigali, Rwanda
3 December 2019
London, UK
25-29 March 2020
Washington, DC, USA
25-28 June 2020
Montreal, Canada
Job Postings and Opportunities

8 November 2019
8 November 2019
20 November 2019

Newsletter participants, currently 4,312 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.  

Thank you!

Better Care Network | 601 West 26th Street Suite 325-19, New York, NY 10001 - USA