BCN Newsletter: 4 March 2013 


Welcome to the latest edition of the BCN Newsletter! 


In this edition, you will find the latest research and resources on alternative care and related programming and policy guidance. 


Starting with two important announcements:

  • The launch of the new Handbook on the implementation of the Alternative Care Guidelines;
  • BCN Consultancy opportunity to support its strategic review and planning process!

Other highlights:

  • A new global report mapping laws, policies and programs countries have in place to support children's healthy development;
  • UK: New research on the views of children living in informal kinship care;
  • Kenya: a new study assessing knowledge, practice and attitudes about parenting
  • and of course, many other upcoming events and job opportunities!

Questions? You can reach us at Thank you for your continual subscription and partnership in promoting positive and appropriate alternative care options for children!


All the best,


The BCN Secretariat


Launch of the Handbook of the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children
BCN Consultancy Opportunity
UK: Children's Views of Living in Informal Kinship Care
New Findings on Child Policy World Wide
Kenya: Skillful Parenting and Molding Behavior at an Early Age
Zero to Three Early Care and Education by Family, Friend, and Neighbor
Deportation's Forgotten Children
CRC Concluding Observations
New Events
SOS Job Post
General Information


Launch Event for the Implementation Handbook of the

Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children

A new handbook on the implementation of the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children is to be launched on March 7th, 2013 3:00-4:30pm at Room XXII, Human Rights Council, Palais des Nations, Geneva.

Speakers at the event include the Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of Brazil, Maria Nazareth Farani Azevedo, a representative from the Permanent Mission of Namibia, the CRC Committee Chairperson, Jean Zermatten, the UNICEF Regional Advisor CEE/CIS,  Jean-Claude Legrand, international child protection consultant, Nigel Cantwell, and Steering Group Member of International Social Service -ISS, Mia Dambach.

The Guidelines were unanimously welcomed at the UN General Assembly in 2009 to provide orientations for policy and practice to address the situation of children in danger of becoming unnecessarily separated from their families. The handbook titled, Moving Forward: Implementing the 'Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children,' was developed by an international team led by CELCIS under the supervision of an expert steering group. Hundreds of professionals from governments, NGOS, UN agencies, and academic fed into the drafting process, which includes promising practices from over 60 countries. The handbook was field tested in Argentina and Malawi facilitated by RELAF, Family for Every Child, and the Better Care Network Malawi. The handbook provides practical guidance on moving forward on the road to alternative care provision for children. It highlights implications for policy-making where national governments should provide leadership as well as examples of what is already being effectively done on the ground.  

press release in English, French, and Spanish can be accessed through the following link:

A separate email announcement will be sent on the launch date, Thursday, March 7th 2013,

with further details about the handbook and activities around the launch.


   Consultancy for Better Care Network

Three-Year Strategic Plan and Organizational Recommendations 

The Better Care Network is seeking the assistance of a consultant or a team of consultants, with extensive experience in strategic planning, organizational, network development and child protection and alternative care, to work in close collaboration with the network to develop a three-year strategic plan and recommendations regarding appropriate organizational options to best support the implementation of the strategic plan. The purpose of the strategic planning and organizational review is to facilitate, through a consultative process, the development of BCN's three-year strategic plan as well as review possible organizational structures and make recommendations on the suitability of different options that will best support the implementation of the plan. Although BCN would prefer to see the Strategic Plan and Organizational Recommendations to be conducted by the same consultant or team of consultants, BCN is prepared to consider separate proposals for either of these two tasks.


Interested candidates should email by March 22nd 2013 a cover letter, CV along with a suggested methodology, timeline for the assignment and an example of a strategic plan.


Please visit the following link to view the full Terms of Reference (TOR) of the consultancy:



Children's Views of Living with Informal Kinship Care: 

Social Networks, Stigma, and Attachment to Carers

This study conducted by the University of Bristol and Buttle UK aims to fill gaps in understanding the experiences and views of children living in informal kinship care. The study utilized data from the UK Population Census of 2001 to estimate the extent of kinship care and describe the characteristics of kinship carers and children. It also employed qualitative methods, including interviews with kin carers and the children and young people being brought up by them, to explore the advantages and disadvantages of informal kinship care, looking at social networks, stigma, and children's attachment to their carers. The analysis of the census revealed that most (95%) children are in informal kinship care arrangements in the UK, outside of the formal child welfare system. Children of minority ethnicity are over-represented in the informal kinship population and the second largest group of kinship carers (38%) was siblings.

Overall, children in this study reported feeling that they belonged in their kin families and they would remain there as long as they wanted. They were also well attached to their kin carers and most had good numbers of people in their social networks. Nevertheless, children also reported that living with kin could result in stigmatization and some had experienced spiteful remarks and bullying. As a result, children tightly controlled who they shared their care information with. The study also found that most children in informal kinship care were living in poverty and very few of the carers had sufficient income to meet the minimum income standards to enable them to reach a socially acceptable standard of living in the UK. Strikingly, the study found that 73% of carers had previously asked for help or advice from Children's Services but only 23% had received the help they requested; carers were often told that they were expected to manage without state assistance, leaving them and their children in increasing vulnerability. 


To access the full report, please visit



Changing Children's Chances:

New Findings on Child Policy World Wide 

This new report by the World Policy Analysis brings together key findings from the book, Children's Chances: How Countries Can Move From Surviving and Thriving, providing a global picture of what laws, policies, and programs countries have in place to address areas vital to children's healthy development, including access to quality education, protection from child labor and early marriage, good health care, working conditions for adults that enable parents to care appropriately for their children through policies guaranteeing minimum wage, paid leave and family benefits, and access to resources to meet basic family needs. The report uses world maps, data charts, and regional highlights to elaborate on the statistical findings and trends, including differences between high income, middle income and low income countries.


Of particular relevance to children's care, the report highlights transformations in the world of work globally that have made paid labor an even more crucial determinant of families' ability to provide care for their children. The report found that providing paid leave for new mothers is now the norm across regions and income groups, with only 8 countries not providing this leave. Although evidence confirms that paid leave for both parents can significantly improve infant and child health, only 81 countries provide paid leave that can be taken by new fathers. In addition, only 54 countries worldwide provide parents with paid leave specifically to meet their children's health needs. In countries that provide unpaid leave, parents are protected from job loss when they are caring for a sick child, but they still suffer wage loss; 16 countries guarantee only unpaid leave for children's health needs. The authors point out that ensuring that paid leave is available to fathers as well as mothers is essential to strengthening families, preventing separation, and providing optimal care environments for children.


To access the full report, please visit:



Skillful Parenting and Molding Behavior at an Early Age: 

Bridging the Gap Between What we Know and What We Do

This new study by Parenting in Africa Network (PAN) was conducted in three regions of Kenya (Nairobi, Mombasa and Busia), involving primary care givers of children age 0-8, children participating in Early Childhood Development and Education centers, and stakeholders and professionals involved in parenting and early childhood development. Using quantitative and qualitative research methods, the study sought to assess the knowledge gaps and skills among parents and care givers regarding what constitutes skillful parenting, and document their attitudes and practices in raising children, as well as their understanding of ways skillful parenting could positively contribute to behavior change in a child's formative years.


The study found that although parents had the knowledge of what it means to parent skillfully, only 26% of the respondents considered parenting skills as vital prior to having a child. Findings also indicated that parents identified  provision of basic needs, such as health, nutrition, and education as the most important aspects of good parenting. Only a small number (13%) identified  a warm loving relationship as necessary for optimal child growth and character formation. Mothers were regarded as bearing the greatest responsibility in parenting but in their absence, an extended family member or a teacher were  preferred to the father. Most families in the study did not rely on public media information on how to raise children but instead identified family members and religious fora as the best avenues for learning and sharing parenting tips. The study concludes by recommending improving ECD centers so that they integrate parenting skills, information or education services necessary to strengthen families and support their needs.   


To access the full report, please visit:



Zero to Three Early Care and Education by Family, Friend, and Neighbor Care

Zero to Three, a US based non profit organization working to inform, train and support professionals, policy makers and parents to improve the lives of infants and toddlers, combined the evidence from research on early childhood development with feedback from focus groups held across the country with families, friends, and neighbors who act as care givers in order to develop a range of simple and practical resources to strengthen care practices with children between the ages of 0 and 3.

The current website lists nine critical tools and resources that support better understanding of child development, including early brain development and the role of temperament and emotional regulation, as well as activities that promote bonding and learning between caregiver and child from birth to 36 months, as well as nurturing early play skills, encouraging school readiness skills, and using positive discipline and limit setting methods.

To access these resources, please visit:



Deportation's Forgotten Children (LA Times) 

This op-ed written by two U.S. Congresswomen puts forward the case for the adoption of the Help Separated Families Act, a bill introduced in Congress that would make it harder to terminate parental rights solely based on immigration status, and would also allow foster children to be placed in the best homes for them, regardless of the immigration status of the potential guardian. 
According to a report published in 2011 by the Applied Research Center, "Shattered Families", there were at least 5,000 children of immigrants in the U.S. foster-care because their parents were detained or deported. The report found that law enforcers did not allow detained immigrant parents to make proper arrangements for the care of their children and after a child entered the foster-care system, detained parents often had little input into plans for their children's care, since the hearings and proceedings that determine those arrangements tended to take place far from the detention centers where immigrants were held. Once parents had been deported, the challenges to reuniting with their children in the U.S. were even greater. All of these factors increased the chances that parental rights may be inappropriately terminated in cases where parents were involved in immigration proceedings, resulting in permanent family separation. The authors argue that the proposed bill would be an important first step towards ensuring the best interest of the child is considered when placing him or her in foster-care, and promoting the practice of keeping the child as close to his or relatives or other familiar community-based care givers.


To access the article, please visit:


Care related Concluding Observations by

the Committee on the Rights of the Child

Spotlight on recently adopted Concluding Observations by the Committee on the Rights of the Child in its examination of State Party reports, with a particular focus on sections addressing Family Environment and Alternative Care.  


In this edition, we highlight four countries examined during the 60th Session of the Committee held from the 29 May- 15 June 2012: Australia, Cyprus, Greece, and Vietnam. 


To access the Concluding Observations on Australia, please visit:


To access the Concluding Observations on Cyprus, please visit:


To access the Concluding Observations on Greece, please visit:


To access the Concluding Observations on Vietnam, please visit: 



The 13th ISPCAN European Regional Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, Dublin, Ireland

The 13th ISPCAN European Regional Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect (CAN) will be held on September 15th, 2013 in Dublin, Ireland. Delegates will have opportunities to share the current state of research and interventions on CAN in Europe and internationally, discuss new challenges and emerging topics, and help shape national and international responses.


The conference theme is "Protecting Children in a Changing World" and the event will discuss the following topics:
  • Prevention of child abuse and neglect through early and sustained involvement
  • Interventions and programmes for children and families experiencing adversity
  • Addressing children's rights and participation
  • Reforms in child protection and welfare policy
  • Children in out of home care
  • Building the evidence base
  • Contemporary issues
Please visit the following link for additional conference information and event registration: 
Early bird registration is due May 31st and regular registration September 6th.



The Christian Alliance for Orphans' Annual Summit


The Christian Alliance for Orphans' Summit IX will be held on May 2-3, 2013, at Brentwood Baptist Church in Nashville, TN. The event gathers pastors, grassroots advocates, organizational leaders, and church ministry heads in order to equip and connect them for adoption, foster care, and global orphan ministry. 


The Lunch Session of the Conference on Thursday, May 2, presents oneBIGidea: Hard-Hitting Concepts that Make a Difference, where business, government, academic, and nonprofit sector leaders will share a 7-minute "TED talk" style presentation on one big idea they believe every advocate should know. Speakers will include, Dr. Brian Fikkert, Founder & Executive Director of the Chalmers Center for Economic Development, Ambassador Susan Jacobs, Special Advisor for Children's Issues, Dr. Neil Boothby, U.S. Government Special Advisor & Senior Coordinator for Children in Adversity.


Please visit the following link to view the full list of speakers of oneBIGidea:


Please visit the following link to learn more about the conference and register:

Early registration is due March 31, 2013




SOS Children's Villages International Continental Programme Development Advisor, Georgia or Uzbekistan

The Continental Office CEE/CIS/Baltics of SOS Children's Villages International is currently looking for a Continental Programme Development Advisor. The post holder will be based in Georgia or Uzbekistan with a national contract reporting to the Programme Development Department of Continental Office CEE/CIS/Baltics in Vienna. Main tasks include supporting and monitoring eight SOS Children's Villages National Associations (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan) in program development, including planning, quality assurance, monitoring, and evaluation of alternative family based care services. An applicant must have an advanced degree in the area of social work, social pedagogy, psychology, or international development and at least 3 years of work experience in the field of child protection and care, preferably in the area of community based child care services. He or she must have knowledge and experience related to the process of deinstitutionalization, child welfare systems in CEE/CIS/Baltics, prevention of separation of children from families, and family reintegration. An applicant must be fluent in written and spoken English and Russian and have the readiness to travel at least 30% of his or her working time.

All qualified applicants must send their CV and cover letter to with a subject line, "Continental Programme Development Advisor."

For more information about the job post, please visit:

The application deadline is March 18th, 2013



The newsletter participants, currently 3,230 in total, 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 newsletter to send us a message at with"newsletter request" in the subject line. Alternatively, visit the homepage of the Better Care Network website at and click on the upper right box where it says, "click here to sign up for our email announcements." Thank you.