BCN Newsletter: 18 July 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:


  • Information on how to join tomorrow's consultation on the USG Action Plan for Children in Adversity;
  • Namibia's newly released Standards for Foster Care Services;
  • The New York Review of Books' piece on Foster Care in New York;
  • A new podcast from on the impact of adversity on brain development in children;
  • and more!



The Better Care Network Secretariat  
Consultation Tomorrow
Foster Care Standards
Learning from Child Welfare Reform
Podcast on Brain Development
Job Postings
General Information


on US National Action Plan on Children in Adversity   

Advocacy and implementing organizations are urgently mobilizing to call on the US government (USG) to develop a multi-year, interagency strategy to address the needs of children in adversity. It is believed that there is an immediate and historic opportunity for the U.S. Government to lead a renewed global effort on behalf of the world's children.  


The Public Law 109-95 Secretariat cordially invites you to attend a briefing on Thursday, July 19 on the United States National Action Plan on Children in Adversity: A Framework for U.S. Government International Assistance.  Dr. Neil Boothby, U.S. Government Special Advisor and Senior Coordinator to the USAID Administrator on Children in Adversity, will present the background leading up to the plan, its development process and content.  There will also be a discussion on ways in which civil society organizations can support the approval and implementation of the plan at the highest levels of government.


To learn more about the plan or how to engage your organization in this process, join tomorrow's consultation in person or via telephone.   Learn more here:


 Standards for Foster Care Services in Namibia

The Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare (MGECW) of Namibia released the 2012 Foster Care Standards and Guidelines which are aimed to guide social workers and other service providers in recruiting, assessing, training, matching, supporting, supervising and monitoring foster care services. The Foster Care Guidelines assist in translating the Standards into day-to-day practices. These Standards and Guidelines with accompanying training manuals were prepared to strengthen supported family-based care for vulnerable and marginalized children.  The Standards are grouped into six categories, presented in six chapters as set out below:

  1. Organizational Issues
  2. Management and Staffing
  3. Finance and Fundraising
  4. The Foster Care Service Process
  5. Caring for Children
  6. Standards for Foster Parents

To read the full set of standards, visit: 


New York: The Beseiged Children

Pulling experiences and stories from two upcoming books Everybody Needs Someone: The Aging-Out of Foster Care Project and David Tobis' From the Other Side: How Parents and Their Allies Changed New York City's Child Welfare System, this recent article in the New York Review of Books examines the systemic shortcomings that had stifled New York City's child welfare system and the families it sought to serve. It highlights the progressive interventions for children and families made available over time through such programs as the Child Welfare Fund and Child Welfare Organizing Project. Through these programs as well as the progress within the city's system itself, the review documents successes achieved to reduce unnecessary family separation and invest in interventions aimed to sustain a family's ability to stay together with better outcomes for children.


While specifically in reference to child protection in the United States, the lessons articulated in terms of the empowerment of children and families and the reforms to underperforming child welfare systems pose opportunities for across contexts.


To read the full article, visit:


Orphaned and Vulnerable Children and Brain Development

Virginia Commonwealth University Professors, Karen Smith Rotabi and Rosemary Farmer, examine impact of neglect on brain development in their recent podcast, Orphaned and Vulnerable Children and Brain Development. Through the persepective of the intersection of neuroscience and social welfare practice, Farmer and Rotabi examine how poverty of experience and such potential adverse situations as institutionalization disrupt brain development in babies and young children. 


To watch the full podcast, visit:



Oxford Policy Management Seeks Senior Social Services Consultant

Oxford Policy Management (OPM) is seeking to support the growth of its social services portfolio through the recruitment of a senior social services consultant. The work of OPM's social services portfolio extends from policy advice and support to governments to practical assistance in the implementation of social care services reform and development; a major focus continues to be on support to planning, delivering and improving the quality of policies and practices relating to alternative care for children. The portfolio's main geographical focus is CIS/CEE and the Balkans but with increasing opportunities in other regions.


To learn more about this position, visit:  


OPM is a development and research based consultancy providing rigorous analysis, policy advice, management and training services to national governments, international aid agencies and other public sector and non-government organisations. OPM aims to contribute in innovative ways to enhance economic and social progress in developing and transition economies, with a focus on the needs of the poorest people.



Consultant for M&E Framework for Social Service System Strengthening

The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is in the process of identifying a series of Social Service System Strengthening Building Blocks to guide social service system strengthening efforts funded under PEPFAR. The MEASURE Evaluation Project has been asked to complement this initiative by implementing an evidence-based and participatory process to develop an M&E framework to measure the effectiveness of these building blocks. MEASURE is currently seeking a part-time consultant to support this project. Location: Washington DC


Learn more about this position by visiting:


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".