BCN Newsletter: 27 April 2013 


Welcome to the latest edition of the BCN Newsletter! 


In this edition we report on the launch of the handbook, Moving Forward: Implementing the 'Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children' in New York.


We also highlight recent research, tools and policy briefs relevant to children's care, including:

  • Ethiopia: New research on understanding the impact of parental death on children at different life stages using the Young Lives longitudinal data.
  • Sibling relations in alternative care: a new report by SOS Children's Villages International with research findings, policy analysis and recommendations.
  • The World Bank and UNICEF have set out a common approach to building social protection systems, highlighting its relevance to children.
  • The ChildSafe Network has developed a useful tool to address 'orphan tourism'. 
  • Our Country Care Reviews continue with highlights on the Committee on the Rights of the Child's care related recommendations to Guyana, Malta, Guinea, Niue, and also relevant recommendations to the USA and the Philippines under the Optional Protocol to the CRC on the Sale of Children.  

And of course, we have the latest news, upcoming events, conferences, webinars 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 in NY
Ethiopia: The Impact of Parental Death on Child Outcomes
Sibling relations in Alternative Care
UNICEF and World Bank Approaches to Building Social Protection Systems
ChildSafe Network on 'orphan tourism'
In the Media: South Africa, Ethiopia, Cambodia
CRC Concluding Observations
Call for Papers
New Webinar
Consultancy and Job Postings
General Information

''Imagine if a busload of Chinese people turned up at a school in Australia, played with the children, spoke to them in Chinese, pushed them to eat rice and fish and took photographs with them and splashed them all over Facebook?'' ''The parents would go berserk.''

  Stealing a generation: Cambodia's unfolding tragedy, Sydney Morning Herald, 7 April 2013.



The launch of the handbook 'Moving Forward: Implementing the 'Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children' at UNICEF House in New York on the 11th April 2013 marked a milestone in the affirmation of children's rights. Hosted by the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations, UNICEF, the Better Care Network and the NGO Committee on UNICEF Working Group on Children without Parental Care, the launch was attended by more than 85 people, including delegations from permanent missions to the United Nations and civil society organizations.

The Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children were unanimously welcomed at the UN General Assembly in 2009 to provide "orientations for policy and practice" to address the situation of children who are deprived of parental care or who are at risk of being unnecessarily separated from their families. 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 contributes examples of what is already being effectively done on the ground. Hundreds of professionals from governments, NGOS, UN agencies, and academia fed into the drafting process, which includes promising practices from over 70 countries.

The event was introduced by Susan Bissell, Associate Director for Child Protection at UNICEF, and speakers were Ms. Regina Maria Cordeiro Dunlop, Deputy Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations, Ms. Jennifer Davidson, CELCIS & co-author of the Handbook, Ms. Cecilia Anicama, on behalf of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Violence against Children, and Mr. Makmur Sunusi, Senior Advisor to the Minister of Social Welfare in Indonesia.

For a summary of the event and to read the speakers statements, please visit:


Ethiopia: The Impact of Parental Death in Middle Childhood and Adolescence on Child Outcomes 

Using data from three rounds of the Young Lives longitudinal survey conducted in 2002, 2006, and 2009 in Ethiopia, this article investigates whether the death of a parent during middle childhood (ages 7-8 to 11-12) has different effects on a child's schooling and psychosocial outcomes when compared with death during adolescence (ages 11-12 to 14-15). The outcomes considered include education in terms of quantity (school enrolment) and quality (i.e. ability to read, write and numeracy), child subjective well-being (a child's own evaluation of his or her life), as well as psychosocial characteristics such as a child's sense of self-esteem and self-efficacy. The results showed that children who lost a mother in middle childhood (between ages 7-12) were about 33% less likely to attend school than children who did not experience the death of a mother. The death of a father, on the other hand, did not have an impact on school enrolment. In terms of self-esteem, maternal orphans scored significantly lower than non-orphans. Not surprisingly, a parent's death was also found to have a significant negative impact on a child's sense of optimism about the future. However, these effects were found to be short-term in nature and did not persist into adolescence. Children orphaned in middle childhood, though, were found to engage in significantly more paid employment and self-employment by the age of 14-15.


Maternal death in adolescence was found, on the other hand, to have no impact on any of the outcomes considered in the study, but the death of a father in adolescence had a significant negative impact on a number of outcomes, including school enrolment and a child's sense of agency. The study found that care arrangements for maternal orphans changed significantly from what they were before the mother died. The author suggests that one of the reasons that maternal orphans seem to suffer more in terms of school enrolment in the short run may be because many of them experience a change in their caregiver, with around 26% of the children who lost a mother in middle childhood cared for by a distant relative or non-relative when compared with 5% of non-orphans. The caregiver arrangement between orphans and non-orphans was not significantly different when a parent died during a child's adolescence: over 90% of the children continued to be cared for by a close relative.



Because We Are Sisters And Brothers: Sibling Relations in Alternative Care 

This publication by SOS Children's Villages International brings together research findings, learning and policy recommendations about sibling relations in alternative care, gathered from five different SOS Children's Villages associations (Germany, Austria, France, Italy, and Spain). The report begins with an article, Siblings Seen Through the Lens of Children's Rights by Maria Herczog, President of Eurochild and member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, explaining what the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children say about the issue of siblings, as well as the importance of ensuring that sibling relationships are given all due consideration when reforming national care systems.

Siblinghood through History and Research gives a summary of historical, sociological, and psychological research on siblinghood carried out in France and Belgium for SOS Children's villages France. Siblings Relations in Challenging Family Constellations, examines what role sibling relations play in families exposed to greater stress. Facts and Figures on Children and Siblings in Alternative Care introduces the legal framework for alternative care and youth welfare systems in the five countries, as well as data on children and their siblings in alternative care. Understanding Sibling Relationships in Alternative Care captures the research project jointly carried out by the national SOS Children's Villages associations in Austria and Germany and the University of Koblenz in an attempt to better understand the experiences of siblings placed in alternative care. The report also provides recommendations derived from the studies, summing up what has to be achieved in order to support siblings in alternative care in developing their relationships, as well as sharing information on risk and resources, the educational challenges, and basic requirements for carers to support siblings. Lastly, an article produced by SOS Children's Villages Spain, Living as a Sibling in Alternative Care: Voices of Children and Young People presents the opinions of children and youth regarding the importance of and need for non-separation of siblings in alternative care.

 To read the full report, please visit:



Common Ground: UNICEF and World Bank Approaches to Building Social Protection Systems 

The recently released UNICEF Social Protection Strategic Framework and the World Bank Social Protection and Labor strategy call for taking a systems approach to social protection as a way to help countries, communities, families and children enhance resilience, equity and opportunity. This brief outlines the common ground between the World Bank and UNICEF in their commitment in developing and strengthening social protection systems, and calls on other stakeholders to engage collaboratively to build such systems and expanding their coverage.

The brief explains the rationale behind a system's approach to social protection, which aims to provide coordinated and harmonized response to the multi-dimensional vulnerabilities across the life-cycle. In general terms this entails a portfolio of interventions which address social and economic vulnerabilities using both short-term interventions to address temporary shocks and longer-term approaches to address structural vulnerabilities and chronic poverty. The authors point out that the rationale for taking this approach is further enhanced when assessed through a child lens. Social protection can serve as an effective catalyst for a range of multi-sector investments needed to address children's multiple needs, including investments in child protection, education, cognitive development, nutrition and health. A systems approach also speaks to the flexibility needed to respond during critical periods in a child's development, and to the need to invest early to gain efficiencies given that early childhood investments generate high rates of return. Acknowledging that a system's approach to social protection also comes with a number of risks, challenges and costs, it cautions that the movement towards more integrated systems is a gradual and contextual process. The brief suggests ways a system's approach can be operationalized at policy, program, and administrative levels, keeping in mind the varying context, capacity, and needs of each country.



The ChildSafe Network: 7 Better Ways to Help Protect Children Around the World

The ChildSafe Network, an international network of organisations, buisnesses and groups working to protect children from abuse and prevent them from being placed in abusive situations that is managed by Friends International, has produced useful advice and information for people who might be traveling abroad and can be confronted by situations where children are in distress or at risk of being abused or harmed. 
Called 7 Better Ways to Help Protect Children Around the World, the information leaflet and website provides 7 Tips on recognising abusive and harmful situations for children with suggested courses of action and practical advice to be a ChildSafe traveller. Addressing issues such as whether to give money to children begging or selling food on the streets or how to avoid situations and actions that may lead to child exploitation, the advice also remind travellers that visits and tours of local orphanages and slums can also lead to children's exploitation, as highlighted in the news article on Cambodia in this edition of the newsletter. Tip# 4: THINK! Children Are Not Tourist Attractions, reminds travelers that these types of tours often lead to poor living conditions being maintained to get sympathy and lure more money from tourists, and that children can be at risk of abuse as visitors are allowed to interact with them, often with no or only minimal supervision by staff. The network also provides information about the 'myths and realities about orphanages in Cambodia' and explains why community based care is preferable to residential care.
To read the full leaflet on Children Are Not Tourist Attractions, please visit:
To find out more about the ChildSafe network, please visit:


South Africa, Cambodia and Ethiopia  

South Africa: Fostering Grandparents Can Get Grants, News 24 (April 14, 2013)


This report by News 24 highlights South Africa's efforts to make grandparents who care for their grandchildren eligible for foster care grants. Bathabile Dlamini, the Minister for Social Development, has welcomed a court ruling making grandparents who care for their grandchildren eligible for foster care grants. The ruling overturns a previous decision by the Children's Court in Krugersdorp in 2011 that a grandmother caring for three grandchildren did not have to be formally defined as a foster carer if she had some means of supporting the children.

The Social Assistance Act categorically states that a foster parent qualifies for a foster care grant regardless of his or her income. The SA Social Security Agency makes foster care grants to more than 520, 000 people, 7,000 of whom are foster parents aged 60 to 70, about 41,000 to people aged 70 to 80, about 1,000 to those aged 80 to 90, and about 900 to those over 90-years-old. Ms. Dlamini thanked senior citizens for continuing to provide the much-needed care and support to orphaned and vulnerable children in the community and assured them that the government will continue to ensure senior caregivers are supported. 


 To read the full article, please visit:



Stealing a Generation: Cambodia's Unfolding Tragedy, Sydney Morning Herald (April 7th, 2013) 


This news report by the Sydney Morning Herald highlights the trend in which orphanages in Cambodia are often run as businesses where children are used as economic assets to attract tourists and volunteers. Dozens of orphanages in Cambodia, including some run by Australians, have been accused of exploiting children to attract donations. The article reports that the Cambodian government is cracking down on the multimillion-dollar orphanage industry after discovering abuses of children in these facilities. In some cases children are forced to beg and solicit tourists who visit their orphanages, otherwise, they are harshly punished with beatings and other demeaning treatments.


About 72% of the 10,000 children living in Cambodia's estimated 600 orphanages have a living parent, although most are portrayed as orphans to capitalize on the goodwill of tourists and volunteers. Australia has a greater involvement in Cambodia's orphanages than other nations, with Australians running them directly. Therefore, many of these orphanages attract Australian tourists and volunteers who often pay thousands of dollars through placement organizations that promote volunteer tourism as a way to get "life changing and rewarding" experiences. Up to 300 of the orphanages in Cambodia are operating illegally with a 65% increase in the number of orphanages in the past five years although the number of orphans has reduced dramatically as Cambodia recovered from genocide, conflict, and an AIDS epidemic. Advocates of children in these institutions, criticize the "orphan tourism" movement, proposing background checks for visitors, more scrupulous government oversight of orphanages, crack down on illegal and unregulated institutions, and a heightened sense of urgency to protect and care for these children by increasing family reunification efforts and family-based alternative care services. 


To read the full article, please visit:



Ethiopian orphanages used 'child harvesters' to find children, The Copenhagen Post  (April 8, 2013)

This article by the Copenhagen Post reports that adoptions from an Ethiopian orphanage (Enat Alem) through a Danish adoption agency were recently halted by the Danish Social and Integration Minister following recent reports of child neglect at the institution. Now new reports are also surfacing that the orphanage used 'child harvesters' to attract local families to put their children up for adoption, in violation of the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption. A previous staff member has confessed that he attempted to persuade families to give up their children and that he was involved in 145 adoption cases at this institution, with considerable financial rewards. Soliciting children for adoption for profit is punishable by imprisonment in Ethiopia. A local official suggested that many parents who were seeking a chance at a better life for their children never fully understood that they would most likely never see them again after agreeing to an adoption through Enat Alem.

Records reveal that 21 children came to Denmark from Enat Alem via DanAdoption since 2009, but the agency denies having knowledge of the orphanage's use of child harvesters. In a letter to parents on the waiting list for Ethiopian children, the agency stated that the moratorium on adoptions from Ethiopia was "temporary" and that there had been "no problems" with Danish adoption from Ethiopia since 2009. Steen Anderson, the General Secretary of UNICEF Denmark, notes, "I am completely shaken [...] This is unethical and illegal. These children are not orphans, and many of these women believe that their children are going on an extended holiday in Denmark."

To read the full 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. Care relevant Concluding Observations by the Committee under the Optional Protocol to the CRC on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (OPSC) are also highlighted.


In this edition, we take a look at the four countries examined under the CRC during the 62nd Session of the Committee held from the 14 January to 1 February, 2013 and two countries examined in the same session under the OPSC.


To access the Concluding Observations on Guyana, please visit:


To access the Concluding Observations on Maltaplease visit:


To access the Concluding Observations on Guinea, please visit:


To access the Concluding Observations on Niue, please visit:


To access the Concluding Observations (OPSC) on the United States of America, please visit:


To access the Concluding Observations (OPSC) on the Philippines, please visit:


CALL FOR PAPERS: The Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS 

The Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS (CCABA) is sponsoring a special issue of AIDS, the official journal of the International AIDS society, on the theme of Children Born into Families Affected by HIV for release at the 20th International AIDS Conference on July 20-25, 20014 in Melbourne. This is a Call for Papers for the above theme, and included in this theme are topics such as:


  • Fertility decisions by HIV-affected couples (including family planning and safe conception)
  • Effects of HIV and antiretroviral drug exposure on foetal development, birth outcomes (including stillbirth, prematurity, low birth weight), and early growth and development
  • Testing of young children and treatment in the context of the family
  • Disclosure of HIV status (of parents or themselves) to young children
  • Parental HIV illness and its impact on young children's development
  • Mental health of young children in families affected by HIV
  • Interventions and models of care to support young children and families affected by HIV

Papers from all regions of the world are encouraged as well as multi-disciplinary perspectives and papers dealing with neglected populations. Papers must conform to all submission requirements of AIDS, which are found on the website: Papers will be subjected to the standard review procedures of the journal.


The final date for submission is December 20, 2013.


For more information about the Special Issue: Children Born into Families Affected by HIV, please contact: Linda Richter at or Lynne Mofenson at




Child Protection Monitoring and Evaluation Reference Group Second Webinar: Measurement of Issues Affecting Children in Alternative or Out of Home Care


The Child Protection Monitoring and Evaluation Reference Group is hosting its second webinar on Tuesday, May 7th, 2013 at 8:00-9:30 am EST and 1:00-2:30pm GMT with the theme, Measurement of Issues Affecting Children in Alternative or Out of Home Care, to share findings from two recent projects to address measurements of issues affecting children in alternative or out-of-home care. The two projects are as follows:
  • Lyudmila Sorokina, Director, Center of Development of Innovative Social Services, "Partnership for Every Child," and Joanna Rogers, Project Director, Taking Action for Children project, will present their work to develop the "Loss of Parental Care Index in Russia." The Index is made up of three quantitative and three qualitative indicators that help to assess how well a given administrative region is doing in preventing unnecessary loss of parental care.  The indicators have been piloted in nine regions of Russia with participation from over 1,200 children and 900 parents.  A further nine regions have signed up for the next pilot in April/May 2013.  An interim report for the first pilot is available which presents results to date and discusses how the indicators help in monitoring.  
  • In December 2012, Family for Every Child published a baseline study of child outcome indicators which presented data on the situation of children living without parental care and those at risk of losing parental care and the policy situation in 10 countries.  The information was brought together from publically available sources such as national censuses, MICS and DHS data. Carola Eyber and Margaret Brown of INTRAC who conducted the study worked with members of Family for Every Child to identify indicators and to collect data against these indicators. They will present their methodology and key findings challenges associated with the process.

For further information about this webinar, please visit: 


UNICEF International Consultant on Conducting Assessment of Needs and Mapping Available Social Services (Social Mapping) throughout Azerbaijan


UNICEF intends to recruit an international expert to 1) identify current needs for social services for vulnerable children and their families and 2) map available social services in order to identify the gaps as well as provide proper guidelines with methodology for assessment. This consultancy is a part of joint activity of UNICEF and World Vision organization's combined effort in this field, particularity in designing, developing and implementing countrywide social mapping with a comprehensive assessment of needs, family conditions, social background and opportunities for vulnerable children and their families as well as mapping the available social services. Targeted introduction of the new family support social services will also be instrumental in prevention of placement of children in institutional care, addressing inclusion of children with disabilities into mainstream society through social services as well as improved social protection of vulnerable children and their families thus directly serving to implementation of the State Program on De-institutionalization and Alternative Care (2006-2015), Law on Social Services and international obligations of the State, including UN CRC and CRPD. The consultant will be stationed in Baku, Azerbaijan from May to November 2013, working 32 working days. 


 Application submission deadline is May 5, 2013.


For the full TOR and information about how to apply, please visit



 UNICEF Request for Applicants of Consolidation of Legislative and Normative Documentation, Reference Materials and Analytical Resources Related to Social Care Reform in Albania


UNICEF is accepting applications for conducting an analysis for the social care reform in Albania. The key objective of the analysis entails consolidating documentation containing pertinent information to the social care service reform such as research, data sets, legislation, and publication to be used as references by all interested actors. The agency will look and review the exiting analysis and research conducted with the aim of creating a body of knowledge available for the reform. The collected and structured information will be delivered electronically to UNICEF who will then be responsible for publishing the information online. The analysis will be conducted during a 3.5-month period in which the agency is expected to work for approximately 15 weeks. The work is expected to start in mid-May and be completed by end of August 2013. 


Application deadline is May 3, 2013. 


For the full TOR and information about how to apply, please visit:




The newsletter participants, currently 3,243 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.