This Life Reuniting Families
believe that children and families do best when they remain together. When circumstances require that children cannot remain with their immediate families, alternative solutions to institutionalization of children should always be sought.
What is the aim of the program?
To contribute to the reduction of children in residential care institutions in Cambodia, increase the capacity of social workers to undertake quality reintegrations, and promote family based care.
What activities do we run?
- We recruit and build the capacity of social workers, identify and assess children living in Residential Care Institutions, their families, and provide open case management for children in need as a result of an Residential Care Institution closure.
- We work with Residential Care Institutions to support their transition into non-residential community-based centres documenting challenges and lessons learned during an Residential Care Institutions transition via surveys and evaluations.
- We conduct family tracing of each child to be reintegrated, assess each child’s family, and explore alternative care options when family tracing is unsuccessful or family assessment is negative.
- We develop plans for reunification and reintegration of children, reuniting children into direct family or kinship care and raise awareness among children and their families of child protection.
- We support families to ensure successful transitions, including parenting skills, legal support, counselling, income generation, support for children to return to school etc; and children to including access to education, health, trauma rehabilitation, psycho-social counselling etc.
- We provide follow up for reintegrated children and their families for at least 2 years and case management support to children and families who have been separated and wish to be reunited.
- We develop and deliver training curriculum in line with the reintegration guidelines and social work standards, including on-going tutorials, mentoring and support for training participants and review and evaluation of training program, including recommendations for expanding the program.
What are the program outcomes?
- Children are reintegrated into safe family environments.
- Decrease in the number of children living in Residential Care Institutions.
- Development of high quality practice informed learning modules on Reintegration Practice for social workers.
- Social workers, local authorities and Residential Care Institutions have increased knowledge of reintegration practices and capacity to undertake quality reintegrations.
- Residential Care Institutions transition to non-residential, community-based centres.
- Strengthened and inclusive child protection systems establish effective gatekeeping mechanisms to prevent unnecessary family separations.
- Communities and government authorities are aware of the harmful effects
of institutional care and the benefits of children living in a secure and nurturing home environment.
- Vulnerable families are aware of local support networks and are able to access material and professional support to reduce the likelihood of child-family separation.
- Children and families feel that their voices are heard, they are empowered to make their own decisions and they have a say in issues affecting them.
Outcomes for all of This Life’s programs can be found in our Annual Report.
- 48,775 children live in residential care institutions in Cambodia (Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health; 2017)
- 77% of children living in residential care have at least one living parent
- 30% of children to be reintegrated into families from residential care institutions by 2019 (Committment of the Cambodian government)