BCN Newsletter: 03 May 2012


To the Better Care Network,


Welcome to the latest edition of the BCN Newsletter! 


In this edition, you'll find the latest research and resources on alternative care and related programming and policy guidance.  In particular, this newsletter includes:

  • New resource on implementation of the Guidelines for Alternative Care of Chidlren;
  • New research on the impact of orphanhood on health, nutrition and food security;
  • Botswana's recent report on children's issues nationally;
  • Malawi's Business Case for investing in child protection systems;
  • Job Postings, Conferences and much more!    



The Better Care Network Secretariat  
US Government Report on Programs
Alternative Care Assessment Tool
Attitudes towards Residential Care
Malawi's Business Case for CP
Study on Impacts of Orphanhood
Job Postings

NEW REPORT: The 5th Annual Report to Congress on Public Law 109-95

The Assistance for Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children

The Fifth Annual Report to Congress on Public Law 109-95, The Assistance for Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children in Developing Countries Act of 2005 highlights continued efforts made by the U.S. Government to improve coordination on behalf of vulnerable children. In keeping with the PL 109-95 mandate to coordinate and disseminate evidence-based best practices, the Secretariat is making strides to firmly and strategically integrate children's developmental protection within health, education and other sectors, thereby  laying the groundwork for coordinated interventions that more effectively address the complex nature of children's risks and opportunities. The report also captures key outputs from the recent US Government Evidence Based Summit on Protecting Children outside of Family Care.

NEW RESOURCE: Assessment Tool for the Implementation of the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children

 SOS Children's Villages has produced an assessment tool for the implementation of the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children. It has been designed to support the advocacy activities of SOS Children's Villages. The tool's main focus is to measure a state's obligations under the UNCRC, in providing quality care arrangements for all children who have lost parental care and those families at risk of separation. It looks in depth at the mechanisms to support families and those gate keeping arrangements to ensure that alternative care is only used when absolutely necessary. It also looks at the various range of care options available within a state and questions duty bearers responsibilities in terms of staffing, child protection, financial arrangements and standards of care.


The tool can be downloaded here: ( ).  To receive it in Spanish, Russian or French, email BCN at


NEW RESOURCE: Thari Ya Bana:Reflections on Children in Botswana 2011

While the articles presented here bring together research and reflections on children's issues in Botswana the issues themselves are not unique to Botswana and thus the findings reported in this publication will also benefit children in other countries. The articles in the various chapters of the publication have been structured to follow the life cycle of the child as she or he grows and is faced with different issues that need to be addressed. As such the publication is divided into 5 sections: young child survival; child development; child protection; HIV and AIDS; and child-sensitive social protection.


Issues related to care and children outside of families are addressed across these 5 sections, with submissions dedicated to child abandonment, provision of statutory foster care, and the effectiveness of child support grant programs. Read more:


 NEW REPORT: Investing in Malawi's National Child Protection System to support national social protection goals: The Business Case  

The paper highlights that investing in Malawi's emerging national child protection system will support national social protection goals. This analysis is timely, as the child protection and social protection programmes in Malawi are both in a state of transition, with the development of a national child protection system and the national social support policy being finalized. The Government is bringing together its various responses to child protection and orphans and vulnerable children as the foundation on which to build the national child protection system, with the intention of delivering a coordinated, harmonised and systematic approach to protecting children from violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect. Read more:



 Early impacts of orphaning: Health, nutrition, and food insecurity in a cohort of school-going adolescents in South Africa   


This study recruited a cohort of 157 recent orphans and 480 non-orphans aged 9-15 in a region of high HIV/AIDS mortality in South Africa using stratified cluster sampling to determine the impact of recent parental death on health and food insecurity of school-going orphans compared to non-orphans over time.

  • In the health domain, compared to non-orphans, double orphans were more likely to report worse health status and being very ill in the previous 12 months.
  • For those who reported being very ill, maternal or paternal orphans were more than twice as likely not to seek care than non-orphans; no differences were found for double orphans.
  • For nutrition and food insecurity, maternal or paternal orphans were more likely not to have eaten dinner and to have gone to bed hungry the previous night compared to non-orphans; no differences were found for double orphans.

Overall, recent school-aged orphans were disadvantaged in health and food insecurity within two years after the death of a parent, compared to their non-orphaned counterparts, but the disparities were smaller than expected. No changes in health, nutritional status, or food insecurity were apparent over the three study rounds. Longer term effects into adulthood may well be more pronounced and warrant careful longitudinal investigation.To receive the full journal article, email BCN Secretariat at



Oak Foundation Seeks Child Abuse Programme Officer : Oak Foundation's Child Abuse Programme aims to reduce violence to children with a special focus on reducing the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and young people. The Programme is now seeking a Programme Officer to complement its work with a focus on policy development and implementation. The Programme Officer will support colleagues in Oak's various offices to identify policy opportunities at national and international levels and advise on partnerships and grants. For further information, follow the link below.


The Faith to Action Initiative Seeks Consultant Coordinator

The Faith to Action Initiative is seeking a Consultant Coordinator to expand it's advocacy and outreach efforts promoting best practice in care for orphan and vulnerable children.  The ideal applicant will have a comfort and familiarity working within the U.S. Christian orphan care community as well as experience in international development - specifically alternative care for orphans and vulnerable children. This position is a two-year contract with part time hours and the flexibility to work from home. Details to be negotiated pending funding and the needs of the selected candidate. Applications are now being accepted and proposed starting date will fall between June-September of 2012.  Full terms of reference is available here:


5th International Policy Conference on the African Child

Fifth International Policy Conference on the African Child: Intercountry Adoption: Alternatives and Controversies

May 29 and 30, 2012 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


African Child Policy Forum will hold its Fifth International Policy Conference on the African Child (IPC) on May 29th and 30th, 2012. The Conference is entitled 'Intercountry Adoption": Alternatives and Controversies'. The choice of the theme for the Fifth IPC was based on the growing interest in the adoption of children from Africa to other continents, and the ostensible lack of comprehensive regulation on the subject currently prevailing in the continent, which sometimes leads to discrepancies in the system, and abuse or exploitation of children. In view of that, ACPF has found it necessary to bring together experts and policy makers at a global level to reflect on intercountry adoption and the implications of the growing interest in adopting children from Africa.  

For more information on the Conference and registration, please refer to 

General Information


The newsletter participants are working on issues related to the care and support of vulnerable children across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas.  The purpose of the newsletter is to enable members to exchange information on matters of mutual concern. If you would like to share a document, raise a specific issue, or reach out in any other way to the Network, please send the information to us at  In the interest of keeping messages consolidated, we will manage announcements on the newsletter and send out a few messages each month.


We would like to involve as many people as possible who are concerned with better care issues in the Network. Please advise anyone who would like to be added to the listserve to send us a message at  with "lnewsletter request" in the subject line. Alternatively, visit the homepage of the Better Care Network website, and click on the upper right box where it says "click here to sign up for our email announcements".