Guidelines on Children’s Reintegration
Family For Every Child is proud to announce the launch of the Guidelines on Children’s Reintegration; a global, interagency resource designed to assist in the planning and implementation of effective programmes to reunite separated children with their families. Family for Every Child has taken a leading role in the development of the Guidelines, chairing the inter-agency group who led the process, and inputting expertise on reintegration from the experiences of our 24 member agencies.
Introduced at the 21st ISPCAN International Congress on Child Abuse and Neglect on the 30th of August 2016 in Calgary, Canada, the Guidelines will be officially launched on the 7th of September and represent the collaboration and combined expertise of over 60 national and international NGOs and UN agencies. The Guidelines have been endorsed by many of the largest child protection agencies in the world, including UNICEF, Save the Children and World Vision.
The Guidelines call for greater investment in reintegration, and advocate for it to be pursued as the primary response before other care options are considered. They are intended to help governments, donors, NGOs, faith-based organisations and practitioners working in a broad range of circumstances to make the right choices for separated children. They set out the principles for effective reintegration and provide practical guidance and case studies to demonstrate how reintegration can and should operate. They can help organisations to design high quality programmes; measure impact; train practitioners to respond more effectively to the needs of reintegrating children; and pursue national level systemic change in support of reintegration. The Guidelines are also a comprehensive starting point for more context specific policies and guidance.
The Guidelines have been developed as separated children are an increasingly urgent priority as all regions grapple with extraordinary levels of conflict, disasters, mass migration, poverty and violence. Separated children are amongst the most vulnerable in the world. They are less likely to attend or do well in school; less able to access health and other basic services; more likely to engage in anti-social and criminal behaviours; and are far more vulnerable to violence, exploitation, abuse and neglect. The future prospects of these children are often severely limited. As adults, they are often less able to access employment, more likely to experience poverty and to be dependent on the state.
Reintegrating separated children back into their own families and communities is often the best way to prevent and remedy the many challenges they face. Most separated children can and should be reintegrated back into their own families and communities, where it is in the child’s best interests. However, poor quality reintegration can do more to harm than benefit children. The Guidelines demonstrate how effective reintegration is a process, requiring extensive assessment, preparation and follow-up support. It is vital that the original reasons for separation are properly addressed before children return home. Rushing reunification or failing to provide effective support to children and families is likely to lead to re-separation and have devastating consequences for child wellbeing.
When sharing the Guidelines on social media, please use hashtag #ChildrensReintegration