In 2013 The Better Care Network and Save the Children UK began an inter-agency initiative involving Better Care Network Netherlands, ECPAT, Faith to Action Initiative, Friends International, Hope and Homes for Children, SOS Children’s Villages, and UNICEF. The purpose of this initiative (implemented by an external consultancy team) was to review and share existing knowledge on international volunteerism as related to the alternative care of children in developing countries. Supported by The Oak Foundation, this initiative - known as “Better Volunteering, Better Care” – was created in response to a growing concern from child protection specialists and other stakeholders about the negative impact of volunteerism within this setting.
Read more about the rationale for this initiative here.
The initiative is currently in the third of the following three phases:
1) A review phase, mapping the trends and nature of volunteerism across the education, corporate and faith-based communities as well as tourist initiatives. This was review was conducted through interviews with over 75 informants, literature reviews, internet analyses, and surveys. Documentation from this review process will be made available shortly. The Executive Summary is available here.
2) A convening of key actors. On 17 and 18 June 2014, the initiative brought together actors from across the child protection, education, corporate, faith-based and tourism sectors for a two-day workshop to share their respective experiences and identify potential ideas to support communication and engagement strategies to address the issue.
3) Strategy development. Combining the learnings from the review phase, and the workshop, an engagement strategy is currently being developed. The overall goal of the strategy is to generate change in knowledge, behaviours, and practices of volunteers.
Individuals or organizations interested in learning more about this initiative, or contributing to its development, are encouraged to contact the project team on email@example.com.
On the 24th September Better Care Network and the CPC Learning Network organized a one day symposium entitled The State of the Evidence on Children’s Care at McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research, New York University.
The symposium topics were clustered around three specific areas of issues related to children’s care:
The symposium brought together a number of leading academics, policy makers and practitioners involved in the development or implementation of key initiatives to better measure issues of children’s care at country, regional or international levels. The symposium provided an important opportunity for collaboration and learning across initiatives to help those working to strengthen care for children to develop a more informed and cohesive picture of the research agenda on this critical aspect of children’s protection and well-being. Taken together, the symposium’s presentations and ensuing discussions represent some of the most recent learning on children’s care issues, and the organizers will collate the symposium’s proceedings in a special issue of a relevant academic journal.
Panel 1: Measuring Trends in Families and Children’s Care and Living Arrangements
Moderated by: Mark Canavera, Associate Director of the CPC Learning Network
Panel 2: Measuring the Impact of Family Strengthening and Prevention of Separation Interventions
Moderated by: Mary McKay, Director of the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research, Professor of Social Work at New York University
Panel 3: Measuring Situations and Outcomes Concerning Children outside Family Care and Children in Alternative Care Arrangements
Moderated by: John Williamson, Senior Technical Advisor, Displaced Children and Orphans Fund, USAID,
Theme: Reflection on past, current and future efforts aimed at strengthening child care systems in East and Southern Africa
In 2013 the Better Care Network (BCN) initiated a regional inter-agency initiative in Eastern and Southern Africa to build and share knowledge, advocate for care reform and technically sound policy and practices to strengthen families and provide appropriate alternative care in the region.
Following a consultative mapping, this regional learning meeting took place on 19-20 August 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya and was planned to bring together organizations involved in family strengthening and alternative care to provide a forum to share information, build collaboration and prioritise needs in three interlinked thematic areas:
i) building and sharing evidence,
ii) strengthening technical capacity and
iii) improving joint advocacy efforts in Eastern and Southern Africa.
The two day meeting was designed to have a mixed approach of presentations, plenary discussions and group work. 36 participants included representatives from UNICEF, Oak Foundation, Save the Children, African Child Policy Forum, REPSSI, RIATT, ANPPCAN, RETRAK, Terre des Hommes, SOS Children Villages, Give a Child a Family, Hope and Homes for Children, Investing in Children and their Societies in Africa (ICS Africa), Parenting in Africa Network, Plan International, World Vision, Men Care + in Eastern and Southern Africa, Child Protection in Community Exchange Network, HelpAge, Hope World Wide regional, Family for Every Child, Catholic Relief services, Kenya Society of Care Leavers, Africa Association of School of Social Workers, Children Institute University of Cape Town, representing stakeholders involved in family strengthening and alternative care across Eastern and Southern Africa.
Over the ourse of two days a combination of panel presentations, plenary discussion and group work provided the opportunity for organisation representatives to share information and lessons learnt about current activities, gaps and/or challenges in each thematic area and they jointly identified priority areas to inform future planning.
Report to come very soon.
As co-convenor of the NY Working Group on Children without Parental Care, Better Care Network is collaborating with key international and national organizations and networks working on children's care and protection to call on member States of the United Nations General Assembly (UN GA) to focus the 2014 Resolution on the Rights of the Child on strengthening family care and providing appropriate alternative care for children. Since 2005, the UN General Assembly has highlighted one thematic area of children's rights in its annual resolution, but it has so far not addressed children without appropriate family care. The UN GA session in 2014 will be particularly key as it will be the 5th Anniversary of the adoption of the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children.
More than 40 international and national NGOs and networks have issued a joint statement calling on member States to seize this opportunity, reminding them that "as five years have passed since the adoption of the Guidelines, it is time to take stock of the progress made and how we have moved forward and look at the impact that the Guidelines have had on the lives of children."
2014 is also the 20th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family and a year of intense preparations and negotiations for the establishment of a new post 2015 development framework. The joint statement underlines that a thematic focus on children's care should also be linked with the current debate on the successor of the MDGs and how to include child protection and care in the post-2015 framework.
More organisations and networks are joining the call and an updated list of endorsing organizations will be published on a regular basis.
For more information about the joint statement, or if your organization would like to endorse it, please contact the Co-Convenors of the NY Working Group on Children Without Parental Care: Florence Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org or Barbara Ammirati at Barbara.Ammirati@sos-kd.org
The Better Care Network is collaborating with a group of leading international and national Non-Governmental Organizations, as part of an Inter-Agency Child Protection Group, to ensure that the framework that will replace the current Millennium Development Goals in 2015 place children’s care and protection at the top of that critical agenda.
A series of Inter-agency papers were produced under the leadership of Family For Every Child on the links between child protection and major development goals, designed to feed into the thematic debates around the post-2015 development framework. The papers highlight the evidence on the multiple and complex ways child protection is critical to achieving sustainable development. The Better Care Network contributed to, and endorsed, a number of the Interagency papers and statements.
The papers contain recommendations to governments, UN agencies and other actors engaged in the design of the post 2015 Agenda to include a goal on child protection and listen to the voices of children, and provide suggestions for goals and targets to be included in that framework.
In May 2013, Better Care Network together with Child Fund, Family for Every Child, SOS Villages International, Maestral International, Plan, Retrak, Save the Children, Terre des Hommes and World Vision issued a statement calling for the inclusion of a specific goal and targets on child protection to ensure all children live a life free from all forms of violence, are protected in conflicts and disasters, and thrive in a safe, caring, family environment.
For further information about this initiative and the recommendations made by the Interagency Group, please click on the links below:
And the culminating report, Protect my future: Why child protection matters in the post-2015 development agenda
As well as the statement, A goal and targets on child protection for the post-2015 development framework
A number of additional briefs and further information about this Inter-agency initiative can be found on Family for Every Child's website at: http://www.familyforeverychild.org
The launch of the handbook 'Moving Forward: Implementing the 'Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children' at UNICEF House in New York on the 11th April 2013 at UNICEF House in New York on the 11th April 2013 marked a milestone in the affirmation of children's rights. Hosted by the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations, UNICEF, the Better Care Network and the NGO Committee on UNICEF Working Group on Children without Parental Care, the launch was attended by more than 85 people, including delegations from permanent missions to the United Nations and civil society organizations.
The Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children were unanimously welcomed at the UN General Assembly in 2009 to provide "orientations for policy and practice" to address the situation of children who are deprived of parental care or who are at risk of being unnecessarily separated from their families. The Handbook provides practical guidance on moving forward on the road to alternative care provision for children. It highlights implications for policy-making where national governments should provide leadership as well as contributes examples of what is already being effectively done on the ground. Hundreds of professionals from governments, NGOS, UN agencies, and academia fed into the drafting process, which includes promising practices from over 70 countries.
The event was introduced by Susan Bissell, Associate Director for Child Protection at UNICEF, and speakers were Ms. Regina Maria Cordeiro Dunlop, Deputy Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations, Ms. Jennifer Davidson, CELCIS & co-author of the Handbook, Ms. Cecilia Anicama, on behalf of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Violence against Children, and Mr. Makmur Sunusi, Senior Advisor to the Minister of Social Welfare in Indonesia.
For a summary of the event and to read the speakers statements, please visit: http://bettercarenetwork.org/BCN/details.asp?id=30820&themeID=1001&topicID=1007
Save the Children, the Better Care Network and UNICEF, in collaboration with key regional stakeholders, hosted a Conference on Family Strengthening and Alternative Care in Sub-Saharan Francophone Africa.
The Conference took place May 10 and 11, 2012 in Dakar, Senegal and was the first meeting of its kind in Sub-Saharan Francophone and Lusophone Africa providing an occasion for the high-level launching of the Guidelines on Alternative Care of Children to a Francophone and Lusophone audience. The conference hosted 128 delegates from 17 African countries.
The event provided an opportunity to mobilise key actors to:
All documents and presentations as well as the final outcomes and commitments will be uploaded by the end of May on the conference website (French only).
In 2006, members of the Better Care Network formed the FBO outreach committee in order to promote better practice within the faith-based orphan care community. This committee formalized in 2008 and is now known as the Faith to Action Initiative.
The Faith to Action Initiative brings together Christian faith-based organizations, churches, and individuals seeking to respond to the needs of orphans and other vulnerable children in Sub-Saharan Africa. The core focus of the Initiative's work is to promote approaches to orphan care that uphold the value of family and community in the life of a child.
For more information on the Faith to Action Initiative please visit their homepage.
In September 2009, BCN partnered with ANPPCAN, UNICEF, Feed the Children, Department of Children's Services, Kenya, SOS Children's Villages, Compassion International, Give a Child a Family, USAID, and Lakarmissionen to hold the First International Conference in Africa on Family-Based Care for Children in Nairobi, Kenya. The conference was attended by over 450 participants from approximately 30 African countries. Representatives from government ministries and parliament; donors; non-governmental organizations; faith-based organizations; community-based organizations; and international organizations were in attendance. The conference objectives were to: (a) improve knowledge on family based care for children through sharing information and experiences; (b) enhance the legislative and policy environment to support family based care for children in Africa; and (c) improve skills of actors in the provision of family based care for children in Africa. To learn more about the conference, visit the links below or contact the BCN Secretariat.
On 30 November – 3 December 2009, Better Care Network, partnered with BCN Steering Committee members Save the Children and UNICEF, to hold a high-level conference on children without adequate parental care at Wilton Park conference centre in the UK. The conference brought together leaders from Government, bi-lateral donors, international agencies, private foundations, and academia to explore challenges and opportunities in protecting these children. The Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children, together with the UNCRC, provide a clear framework for action to support families to care for their children and to develop quality family-based alternatives to residential care. This conference sought to bring energy and drive into realizing the changes needed to better care for and protect vulnerable children. For more information on the conference, visit the links below:
Continue to visit this page for updated information regarding BCN's efforts to support country and regional level support of alternative care work.