Registration, documentation and tracing should be done in a co-ordinated fashion throughout a particular emergency situation, with all involved agencies using the same forms in order to avoid confusion and errors and ensuring that all documentation forms are included in a central, confidential database. The affected population should be given clear guidance on the process for registration and should be supported throughout the process.
All separated children should be registered as soon as they are identified. Their basic information must be collected, photograph taken, and medical screening done. All belongings and clothing should be listed and retained with the child. Particularly for young children, the registration process must include gathering information from any adults or older children who may be able to provide relevant information. In some situations rapid action can permit immediate reunification with parents or relatives, and such action should not necessarily wait until full documentation has been completed.
Parents and caretakers who have lost children should also be able to submit tracing requests. Children and adults should be kept fully informed of the process and reunited or in contact with located family members or relatives as quickly as possible.
Tracing of family members is the next step, even if family reunification is not immediately possible. The priority is to locate parents, other family members, or relatives in the area who may be able to provide interim care for children without adequate care. Precautions should be made when sharing information for tracing purposes to ensure the child or their family members are not placed at risk.
The literature in this section includes procedural guidance and documentation forms for registering and tracing children and parents, as well as descriptions of documentation and tracing programs.