Reintegrating children into their families
20 organisations meet in New York to agree on global guidelines
On Thursday and Friday 7 and 8 May, more than twenty organisations – UN agencies, international and national organisations, donors, networks – working with children around the world are meeting in New York with Family for Every Child to develop the first draft of the Global Guidelines on the reintegration of children.
Each year, millions of children around the world are separated from their families because of poverty, abuse and neglect, migration, and conflict and disasters. Many of them end up on the streets, in detention, living with employers, or in alternative care, including institutional care.
Around the world, UN agencies, NGOs and governments all strive to reintegrate children back into their families and communities so that they can grow up in a safe and caring environment.
However, for the reintegration to be successful and permanent, it needs to be carried out through a sound process, ensuring that the child is ready to be reinserted in his family, that the family is prepared to welcome the child, and that there is good follow-up support on the reunification process. Read more about the process of reintegration in our report Reaching for Home.
But whilst good practices exist, in many instances, the return of these often traumatised children to their home and communities is carried out with almost no preparation – which can pose a risk to the safety of the child, often even leading to the child separating from his or her family again.
With funding support from the GHR Foundation, we at Family have been leading an effort to develop – together with a group of leading organisations working with children – a set of global guidelines for the reintegration of children. With organisations including USAID, UNICEF, BCN, Retrak, Save the Children and Lumos, we aim to pool knowledge on best practices, to develop a set of guidelines and to share these widely with national, regional and international bodies working on reintegration.
We believe that, when widely implemented, these guidelines will improve the way in which children are returned to their families and, what’s more important, ensure that they stay with their families and grow up in a safe and caring environment.