Learn how to strengthen child welfare and protection around the globe.
Maestral has been engaged in child protection system strengthening for over a decade. Informed by these experiences, we have realized that a well-planned, competent and supported workforce plays a critical role in ensuring child protection and response within the wider social service system. In many ways, the workforce is the backbone or spinal cord of the protection system. Without a strong and well-resourced workforce at the core of the social service system, the legal and policy framework for child protection is not implemented, data is not collected and used to inform and strengthen programming and resources, and the critically necessary services to prevent and respond to child protection risks and violations do not reach children, their caregivers and families.
Read about Maestral’s approach and expertise in strengthening the social service workforce to protect children.View Document
A new Commission published between The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health and The Lancet Psychiatry, advocates global reform of the care of separated children through the progressive replacement institutional provision with safe and nurturing family-based care. It provides essential information on both the global scale of institutionalisation and its physical, social, and mental health consequences. It presents a pragmatic roadmap for carefully managed change.
Authors: Marinus H van IJzendoorn, Marian J Bakermans-Kranenburg, Robbie Duschinsky, Nathan A Fox, Philip S Goldman, Megan R Gunnar, Dana E Johnson, Charles A Nelson, Sophie Reijman, Guy C M Skinner, Charles H Zeanah, Edmund J S Sonuga-BarkeView Website
The COVID‐19 pandemic requires adapting and/or developing services and programming to continue to best serve children and families throughout the rapidly changing times. Disruptions to families, friendships, daily routines and the wider community can have negative consequences on children’s well‐being, learning, development and protection. Whilst in‐person monitoring visits to family homes, alternative care placements or residential care facilities are not possible during times of quarantine, restricted movement and social distancing, it is critical that programs and case workers maintain regular phone or virtual contact with the children and families they have responsibility for.View Document
The COVID-19 pandemic requires that we assess how to best adapt existing or adopt new services and programming to best serve children and families in uncertain times. An ecological framework can help us understand how COVID-19 might impact the children, families and communities we aim to serve. This framework also serves to help programs adapt, reorganize and prioritize prevention and response activities.View Document
The purpose of the Multi-Country Review of the State of the Social Service Workforce in the Middle East and North Africa Region was to create and analyse a baseline of information and data on the status of the SSW in eight countries in the region. The aim is to guide and assist country-level action plans to strengthen the social service workforce. The review was designed to highlight unique aspects of each country’s workforce, identify common challenges or trends, and suggest evidence-based strategies that countries could consider when developing their country-level action plans.View Website
Between 2015 and 2018, the RISE Learning Network facilitated learning on approaches, practices, methods, and tools that promote recovery and reintegration of children affected by sexual exploitation. Spanning three regions (Sub-Saharan Africa, South Central Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean), the RISE Learning Network implemented two learning projects.The learnings can inform programming; monitoring, evaluation and learning frameworks; and other interventions around reintegration to ensure the holistic wellbeing of children and families.View Website
This guidance was developed by care leavers for use by policy makers, practitioners, faith-based organizations, mass media and volunteers.View Website
These guidelines are informed by evidence of ‘what works’ and lessons learned in the field. They are designed to accelerate UNICEF regional and country offices’ programming on social service workforce strengthening, and support work to better plan, develop and support the social services workforce with national and regional partners.View Website
While at least 50% of children between the ages of 2 and 17 years experienced one or more forms of violence across Africa in the past year, removing children from family care often fails to end their experience of violence. The best way for governments in Africa to ensure a safer, healthier life for children is to prevent the causes of family separation, and, when that is unavoidable, to ensure the standards for alternative care are the highest possible.
To date, initiatives to address VAC and to reform alternative care systems have not been explicitly or directly linked in policy and programming. Consequently, family strengthening interventions are often lacking coordination and missing important areas of synergies. VAC and care programs “work independently of each other…they are distinctly labelled as such [as a VAC or alternative care initiative], and there has been little merging of approaches to date.”15 This discussion paper explores the interlinkages between VAC and children’s care in the African context, including in legal and policy frameworks, data collection and use for decision making, service delivery, and public awareness to ensure families can be supported and empowered to provide protective, stable, and appropriate care for children. The paper will do this by:
Vulnerable children and families are entitled to efficient, comprehensive and respectful assistance on multiple fronts set out in national and global policies,1 but are often faced with piecemeal, inadequate and intrusive services, or are neglected altogether. Services designed to protect children’s rights often function on their own, disconnected from other services that may also be needed if these rights are to be protected and their needs met holistically. The results are often overlaps and gaps in services, negatively impacting those in need of services. From the child and family view, and from the perspective of those at the grassroots level involved in assisting them, the service structure can often seem an unnavigable maze full of unknown challenges, and many give up.
This guide is aimed at policy makers and programme managers working across
Eastern and Southern Africa whose role is to support and protect the rights of
vulnerable children and their families. It has been developed in line with the growing recognition that the rights and needs of vulnerable children and families are complex, multifaceted, interrelated and interdependent. Meeting children’s rights cannot be fully accomplished by working in one sector alone, whether it be child protection, social protection, health, HIV, education, justice or any other. Stakeholders working for and with vulnerable children recognize that the rights and needs of children who face multiple risks are best addressed within a coordinated and integrated approach. At the case level, this type of service approach – known as the integrated case management (ICM) model – is increasingly recognized as a best practice.
Investments in case management are growing across many sectors, notably health,
HIV care and child protection. However, although all case management systems seek to link different sectors, in practice the linkages have been hard to implement Integrating Case Managment for VCconsistently. This guide intentionally focuses on what is needed for integration to
The Transitioning to Family Care for Children Tool Kit is an online resource developed by the Faith to Action Initiative for churches, faith-based organizations, donors, and others seeking to transition their care and support of children away from a residential model of care (e.g., institutions, orphanages, children’s homes, group homes) to care within families.View Website
This paper argues that investing in young children globally is a primary means of achieving sustainable human, social, and economic development, all of which are vital to ensuring international peace and security.
In the paper, 31 experts argue that current international assistance for children in developing countries focuses too much on single categories of vulnerability rather than young children’s holistic well-being. The co-authors note that without a proactive effort to integrate programs for young children, harmonize implementation, and synchronize the measurement of results, program and outcome siloes are created, and an important opportunity to maximize results for children is lost. Young children’s needs and risks are multidimensional. Tackling one issue at a time, divorced from a more complex reality, is ultimately a disservice to time- and resource-strapped vulnerable families. Young children require integrated support, including health, nutrition, education, care, and protection. The science explains why. By turning attention and resources toward coordinated investments and delivery platforms, it is possible to close the gap between what is known and what is done to support young children globally.
The paper is a call to action, informed by science from multiple disciplines. We hope it will help to close the gap between what is known and what is done to support the development of children globally and, in turn, sustainable progress for communities and nations.
The placement of children in so-called ‘orphanages’, poor quality residential special schools, large children’s homes and other types of residential institutions can seriously harm their health, development and future life chances. A body of evidence gathered over more than 80 years attests to this fact. Outcomes for children in institutions are extremely poor, yet paying for a child to live in an institution is significantly more expensive in most cases than supporting a child to live at home with their family.
With concerted efforts and the right investments, the institutionalization of children could end globally by 2050. Donors play a vital role in making this a reality and in influencing other stakeholders on the ground, especially those who are resistant to reform.View Document
Plan UK released a Policy Report on the Rationale and Scope for Strengthening Support to Adolescents Who Are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex or Questioning (LGBTIQ). The report details why and how Plan International could strengthen its programme, advocacy and institutional support to LGBTIQ adolescents. The scoping exercise also included mapping and analysing the legal, social and other challenges and opportunities facing LGBTIQ adolescents in the world.View Website
The Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children created a draft strategy to support and promote the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda. The SDGs set targets to be delivered by 2030 with the vision of a world where every child grows up free from violence and exploitation. This strategy outlines how the Partnership plans to prevent and respond to violence against children over the next five years.View Document
There is a growing evidence base that illustrates how certain child protection violations increase the risk of acquiring HIV; and how children who have HIV, who have a parent or guardian with HIV, or who have been orphaned as a result of HIV are at increased risk of violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation and stigma and acquiring HIV themselves. Maltreatment is often linked to the adoption of risky behaviors, such as injecting drugs and early sexual initiation or sex work, both of which contribute to higher HIV risk. Child protection and HIV actors must work together to address these issues.View Document
The report provides practical examples from Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe of how both government and civil society organisations are linking child protection interventions to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, resulting in improved impacts on both HIV outcomes and decrease in child abuse, violence, exploitation and neglect. The report describes a wide-ranging set of approaches including community-based projects as well as government coordination mechanisms, working in both HIV and child protection.View Document
This working paper explores the topic of social service workforce strengthening as it relates to child care reform. It is intended to be a useful resource for reform efforts and a practical and accessible overview. It additionally illustrates key issues by drawing on the experiences of Indonesia, Moldova, and Rwanda, three countries in the process of reform, each within their own context and history, social and political system, protection structure and services, and social service education system.View Document
Strengthening child protection systems in sub-Saharan Africa: A call to action.View Document
This paper presents findings from a study commissioned by the Inter Agency Task Team on Children affected by HIV and AIDS. The study aims to better understand the ways in which child protection systems can respond to the needs of children living with and affected by HIV and how those working on issues related to this specific group of children can give greater attention to child protection issues.View Document
Managing Ethical Dilemmas When Caring for Children and Families of Key Populations.View Document
Toolkit to map and assess child protection systems.View Website
Strengthening Swaziland’s child protection system: A mapping and assessment study.View Document