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Better Care Network Newsletter - January 2013

This issue of the newsletter includes: The new Inter-Agency Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action Two Policy Briefs by Save the Children on the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children and on Intercountry Adoption Peer research by young people leaving care supported by SOS Children's Villages International in Albania, the Czech Republic, Finland, and Poland Seven country snapshots developed by SOS Children's Villages International looking at alternative care systems News articles on Haiti's orphanages and personal portraits of adoption in the USA  


Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action

The Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action were formulated between January 2011 and September 2012 by the Child Protection Working Group (CPWG), an inter-agency working group composed of child protection practitioners, other humanitarians, academics, and policy makers. The standards set out a common agreement on what needs to be achieved in order for child protection in humanitarian settings to be of adequate quality. They are intended for use by the range of actors and agencies working on child protection or related areas of humanitarian action, including those working directly with children, families and communities, planners and policy makers, coordinators, donors, academics, advocacy and media/communication specialists.

Many of the standards emphasize the critical role of families and caregivers in protecting children at times of crisis or emergencies but also recognize the ways these emergencies can place families under intense strain and undermine their capacity to care appropriately for their children (Standard 8 on physical violence and other harmful practices and Standard 10 on psychosocial distress and mental disorders). Specific recommendations are provided on ways of working with, and involving, caregivers in interventions to protect children, including through providing support to them in their caregiving role but also assisting them to deal with their own needs and distress. Useful guidance is also provided on addressing the care needs of children associated with armed forces or armed groups (Standard 11), and providing appropriate responses to children who are unaccompanied and separated children (Standard 13), including addressing interim care needs, identifying supportive community structures and systems and ensuring the availability of different alternative care options.

To view the full report, please visit:


 The Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children   


Save the Children has recently produced a policy brief on the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children. The Guidelines were endorsed by the UN General Assembly in November 2009 in honor of the 20th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) with the aim of further supporting the implementation of the Convention by providing guidance on the relationship between parental care and the child's family environment, clarifying the goals for alternative care, and the criteria for decisions of alternative care placements. The policy  brief introduces the background, goals, and guiding principles of the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children while also explaining why family-based care is a preferred care arrangement over institutions. Furthermore, it suggests policy and practice recommendations to further protect children without appropriate care and strengthen families and communities. The brief provides a number of examples on the use of the Guidelines at the country level, to support reforms of the alternative care systems and strengthen child protection, including in Ethiopia, Liberia, Egypt, Jordan, Georgia, Indonesia, Haiti and Italy. 

Save the Children has been involved at the international level in the development of the Guidelines and at the country level in efforts to ensure use of the Guidelines as a framework for reform. The organization strongly supports the Guidelines and urges countries to use them as a reference and tool for legislation and policy reform.

Intercountry Adoption

This policy brief by Save the Children sets out the organization's position on intercountry adoption, highlighting research findings and referring to international legal standards and good practices. Research has shown that growing up in a supportive family environment is crucial to the successful development of a child, and where other family-based options are not possible, intercountry adoption has allowed for abandoned, orphaned or children with disabilities to be raised within a loving family from another country. The organization stresses, however, that effective regulation of intercountry adoption is essential to ensure the best possible solution for each child and that it does not involve commercial or criminal gain, fraud, child trafficking, or the deception of the birth parents. While the number of international adoptions in the last several years has declined, there were still approximately 24,000 children internationally adopted in 2011, the vast majority from developing to developed countries.
The brief discusses the application of key principles under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to the determination of permanent care solutions, including the child's right to know and be cared for by his or her own parents whenever possible, and ensuring that poverty or a lack of resources is never a reason for the separation of a child from his or her family.  Save the Children makes a range of policy recommendations that include investing more in local family-based support services, effectively regulating intercountry adoption including restricting its use in the first phase of an emergency, improving the quality of care within residential childcare facilities until family based care is available, and helping prospective adoptive parents ensure the child's best interest. 

To view the full report, please visit:




Insights from Young People on Leaving Care in Albania,

the Czech Republic, Finland, and Poland

This report by SOS Children's Villages International presents the findings from a two-year peer research project which includes the testimony of more than 300 young people with care experience in Albania, the Czech Republic, Finland, and Poland. Their collective understanding of the leaving care process informed both the findings and policy recommendations of this paper. More than 40 care leavers from the four countries were selected and trained to play an active role in all the aspects of the projects, from designing the questionnaire to conducting the interviews, analyzing the results and disseminating them.

The interviews revealed widespread inadequacies regarding the process of leaving care in those countries. Most respondents recommended that care should be extended to cover young people until they reach at least 20 years of age, partly to ensure that the end of care does not coincide with the often stressful end of school. Advanced notice about leaving care was also proposed, recognizing earlier notice as essential to a smooth transition. Respondents called for the process of leaving care to begin up to two years before a young person's departure. Many care leavers reported that they lacked the basic everyday skills needed to help them through the transition process, including being able to cook a meal or balance a budget. Abuse and mistreatment while in care was also widely reported by young people, and the need to address its impact, including after young people leave care, was highlighted. The report includes a number of policy and program recommendations designed to ensure that young people who have left care are not left behind.

To access the full report, please visit:



 In 2011, SOS Children's Villages International developed an assessment tool to measure a state's implementation of the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children. This tool was used as a basis for conducting research by countries participating in the SOS Children's Villages global advocacy campaign: Care for ME! Quality Care for Every Child. Country snapshots on the alternative care situation and compliance with the UN Guidelines were produced for Armenia, Columbia, Croatia, Lithuania, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. Using the assessment tool, these snapshots include statistical data reporting of the geographical distribution and prevalence of formal care institutions and number of children in these facilities, and of family strengthening services or day care centers. States' deinstitutionalization strategies and alternative care processes were analyzed, legislative and regulatory gaps related to childcare and protection were identified.


Recommendations for each country were also provided, many of which referred to the need to establish a coherent policy framework based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children, and work with a multidisciplinary team that includes civil societies, social service providers, child protective professionals, children and youth in care facilities, and governmental bodies for the effective implementation of the Guidelines and related care services. Recognized at the outset that many states would not have sufficient data available to answer all the questions contained in the assessment, SOS Children's Villages national associations were asked to complete as much of the tool as possible, given the available data in their country.


To access each country report, please visit:



Trying to Close Orphanages Where Many Aren't Orphans at All by Emily Brennan The New York Times 

A consensus is developing among Haitian government officials and children's advocates that a new approach is required to reduce the number of orphanages. But the transition is not easy, and some question whether the country is ready for it.

To read the full article, please visit:

How Shall We Care for Haiti's Orphans? by Emily Brennan Religion and Politics 

Following on her New York Times piece in December, 2012, on efforts to try to close down orphanages in Haiti, Emily Brennan discusses the debates in the evangelical movement on the approaches used to what some Christian leaders call "orphan care."
To read the full article, please visit:


30 Adoption Portraits in 30 Days in The Huffington Post 

The Huffington Post's "30 Adoption Portraits in 30 Days" is a series designed to give a voice to people with widely varying experiences, including birthparents, adoptees, adoptive parents, foster parents, waiting adoptive parents and others touched by adoption.

To read about the series, please visit:




Social Service Workforce Strengthening Webinar Series

The Global Social Service Workforce Alliance presents its 8th Social Service Workforce Strengthening Webinar Series with the topic, "Creating Supportive Work Environment for the Social Service Workforce" on February 5, 2013, 9:30am-11:30am EST. Speakers include Eileen Munro, Professor of Social Policy, London School of Economics, and Rita Muyambo, Team Leader, Thogomelo Project, International HIV/AIDS Alliance. This webinar offers an open forum for discussion on creating and sustaining a supportive work environment for social service workers as such an environment enables workers to perform effectively by recognizing and strengthening their skills and competencies, and encourages professional development and psychosocial well-being. Presenters will address questions such as:

  • What systems and policies can be established to help support worker performance and satisfaction?
  • How do we best engage workers themselves in helping to improve policies and practices?
  • What has been learned from efforts to implement training for supervisors of community care givers?

Participants may log onto the webinar session by the instructions described at the following link: (Note that the link will not be active until February 5th).

For further information, including documents about the programs featured and discussion, and to participate in discussions about the previous webinar long onto or contact:


Joint Council on International Children's Services

37th Annual Child Welfare Symposium

The Joint Council on International Children's Services is announcing its 37th Annual Child Welfare Symposium, which will be held in New York City, May 20-22, 2013 at the Conference Center, 130 East 59th Street, New York, New York.

Every year, the Symposium brings together 200 professionals in the area of child welfare, adoption, and orphan care for three days of information gathering, idea sharing, and networking. All those with an interest in ensuring that children live, grow, and flourish in a permanent, safe, and loving family are invited to attend. Workshops at the 2012 Symposium covered topics such as post-adoption nutrition, the future of international adoption, and the changing media landscape with regard to permanency solution for children. This year, workshops will discuss, among other things, the nutritional needs of children in institutional care with finding from research in Kazakhstan, China, Haiti and India, best practices in domestic and inter-country adoptions, lessons learnt in early intervention programs and integrated approaches to child welfare with a focus on China, Ethiopia, Haiti, and India. Conference schedule, a complete list of speakers, and registration information can be found at

If you have any questions regarding the Symposium, please contact the Joint Council on International Children's Services at 703-535-8045 or


Every Child's Potential: Integrating Nutrition, Health, and Psychosocial Interventions to Promote Early Childhood Development

The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science at the New York Academy of Sciences and The Global Child Development Group present its conference Every Child's Potential: Integrating Nutrition, Health, and Psychosocial Interventions to Promote Early Childhood Development on April 3-4, 2013, at The New York Academy of Sciences at 7 World Trade Center, 250 Greenwich Street 40th floor, New York, New York, 10007.

The objective of the conference is to investigate existing evidence about integrating early child development and nutrition interventions. Lectures and discussions will explore the relevance and effectiveness of an integrated approach from several dimensions, including the theoretical construct, timing and pathways to outcomes, indicators for achievements, and required delivery mechanisms at the community and institutional levels for implementation and scaling up. The audience will include program implementers and researchers from the nutrition and early childhood development fields that seek to better understand the science and evidence supporting integrative approaches.

For registration and further information about the conference, please visit:


 Senior Director, Child Protection for Save the Children U.S. (Washington D.C)  

This position provides technical and managerial leadership for the Child Protection team within the Child Protection and HIV/AIDS department. This person will be responsible for overall management of the child protection portfolio, and delivery of technical support to Save the Children's child protection and OVC programs. With strong technical expertise in child protection issues and the ability to oversee a diverse team, the Senior Director will build a clear strategy for effective delivery and growth of programs, successfully pursue new business opportunities for the technical area and lead the team in providing technical support and quality assurance for child protection technical staff and programs both in the field and headquarters. This position will sit on the Child Protection and HIV/AIDS cross-functional business team.

For more information about the post and to apply please visit:  

 Applications are due by February 25th, 2013.



Knowledge Management, Networking, and Coordination Consultant for CPMERG 


The Child Protection Monitoring and Evaluation Reference Group (CP MERG), an interagency co-chaired by UNICEF and Save the Children, is recruiting a Knowledge Management consultant who will be responsible for knowledge management, coordination, and networking. The consultant is expected to develop and increase circulation of the CP MERG Newsletter and engage in tracking, collecting, and vetting of monitoring research initiatives in child protection as well as obtaining and organizing resource materials related to child protection research for inclusion on the website and listserv. He or she will manage and develop the CP MERG website and engage in outreach to organizations undertaking monitoring and evaluation in children protection and related research. The consultant will be tasked with increasing and diversifying the membership of CP MERG, especially from the Global South, while also regularly maintaining membership and circulation databases.


To view the full Terms of References, please visit:


Qualified candidates are requested to submit a cover letter, CV, and signed P11 form (which can be retrieved at ­to with the subject line "CP MERG" by February 4th, 2013. Please indicate your ability, availability, and daily rate to undertake the consultancy position above. Applications submitted without a daily rate will not be considered.  



Short-term Consultancy for IRC Child Protection Case Management Training Materials 


The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is seeking the services of one consultant to develop training materials for social workers, case workers, and child protection field staff on case management. The training materials will need to include topics on general case management as well as a specific focus on family tracing and reunification, best interest determination, and the inter-agency child protection information management system as tools and resources to support case management.

The consultant can be based anywhere for the drafting and finalizing of the training materials but  will need to be in Liberia (Monrovia and other IRC field sites) for a period of approximately 2-3 months (with travel to Cote D'Ivoire (Abidjan and other IRC field sites) as required) for field testing of the materials.


Main responsibilities include reviewing inter-agency case management guidelines and training manuals, drafting and finalizing training materials, field testing, and data collecting to evaluate training materials. The suggested time frame for the consultancy works is from March 1st to June 30th 2013.  


All interested applicants must apply online by March 15th, 2013, at 



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Published Feb. 4, 2013 1:11 PM - Last modified Apr. 17, 2013 3:25 PM