September 2015

Dear friends and colleagues,

We are delighted to welcome you to the Better Care Network's brand new website! This journey has taken longer than we thought, but we hope that you will be as happy as we are with the result. This new website combines some of the well-established features of our previous website, including the largest global online library of documents on children's care, and our practical Toolkit for practitioners, with some brand new features, including country and regional pages, and a much more user friendly and accessible platform. We are also reaching to a broader community of policy makers, practitioners, researchers, and donors whose primary language is not English, through our new French and Spanish sections. (And we are even discussing an Arabic one!)

These will be built over time with the help of our partners, which means you! Do reach out to us if you identify gaps, documents that should be up there and are not, organisations and networks that should be highlighted in our partnership sections but that are missing. These new sections will only be as good as you make them, by sharing your critical work and learning across countries and regions through this network which is yours. 

Florence Martin, BCN Director

BCN has developed a new, user-friendly, updated website complete with some great new features, including:
  • Region and Country pages. Find resources and news listed by individual country and/or region and sub-region. Within each country and region, you can also browse resources by type of document. A few country pages also feature basic demographic data and data on children's household/living arrangements. We will continue to add this information to other country pages. See a sample page here.
  • Language Sections. We now have Francophone and Spanish sections featuring information about BCN in French and Spanish as well as a collection of resources in those languages.
  • Advanced Search. You can now search for resources not only by category, but also by country/region, type of document, and language.
  • Working Together. These pages, still in development, feature some of the partners and other organizations working on children's care globally, regionally, and nationally.
  • New Pages. Including a page for our Country Care Reviews and a section for the Better Volunteering Better Care Initiative

Country Care Profiles
This report summarizes the care-reform process of three sub-Saharan African countries - Ghana, Liberia and Rwanda. The review covers the key components of the reform including the legal and policy framework, programmes and service delivery, advocacy and networking. The purpose of this document is to increase the visibility of these country examples and provide useful information about their processes, successes, as well as challenges, in order to support further exchange and learning in the region and reinforce and encourage care reforms in other countries.

Country Care Profile: Liberia
This country care profile provides an overview of key lessons learned in the children's care reform process in Liberia, including successes, challenges and areas for progress, and gaps in learning and best practice.

This country care profile provides an overview of key lessons learned in the children's care reform process in Ghana, including successes, challenges and areas for progress, and gaps in learning and best practice.

This country care profile provides an overview of key lessons learned in the children's care reform process in Rwanda, including successes, challenges and areas for progress, and gaps in learning and best practice.

Country Briefs
The Better Care Network has produced several Country Briefs which provide an overview of data on children's living arrangements extracted from DHS and MICS surveys. The briefs present data on who children live with, prevalence of parental death, percentage of children living without their parents (by parents' survivorship status), child relationship to head of household, percentage of children living in kinship care and more. Recent Country Briefs include:


National Consultation Reports
Meeting Report of the Rwanda Learning and Consultation Workshop
As part of the work of the BCN Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Initiative, the National Commission for Children in partnership with BCN, and Save the Children convened a national consultative workshop in Kigali, Rwanda on 26 and 27 November 2014. This report presents a summary of the main priority outcomes which were identified by participants during the meeting, including: evidence building and sharing, strengthening advocacy, and strengthening capacity.

As part of its Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Initiative, BCN, along with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) and the National Child Protection Working Group (CPWG) - an interagency platform of national child protection stakeholders - convened a national consultative workshop on 11 and 12 November 2014. This report from the workshop presents the priorities for action identified by the workshop participants, including: strengthening capacity for family strengthening and alternative care, evidence building and sharing, and strengthening advocacy.

Coming Soon: New Online Community of Practice
As part of its regional inter-agency initiative in Eastern and Southern Africa, the Better Care Network (BCN) is developing an online community of practice platform that will allow participants in the initiative (including practitioners, program developers, policy makers and others concerned with children who lack adequate family care in Eastern and Southern Africa) to exchange and obtain information relevant to children's care reform in the region. The online community of practice is a tool for national and regional actors to use in collaborating and sharing learning, experiences, and information.



The Staley School of Leadership Studies at Kansas State University organized this Leading Change Institute - led by Eric Hartman, Assistant Professor at the Staley School, and steering group member of the Better Volunteering, Better Care global working group. Around 30 individuals attended, mainly from higher education institutions in the USA, but also from organizations in the Global South working in partnership with American universities. BVBC facilitator Anna McKeon presented on the issues surrounding volunteering in residential care.
This report, one of the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014, highlights the connections between voluntourism and the mistreatment of children in residential care in Nepal. "The CCWB stated that many children in institutions were inaccurately presented as orphans or destitute to attract the sympathy of fee-paying foreign volunteers and donors."  
The Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice has developed a flyer to motivate foreign organizations working with children to ask for a Certificate of Conduct when recruiting Dutch volunteers or employees. The flyer is developed together with ECPAT NL, Better Care Network Netherlands and Terre des Hommes NL within the framework of the National Action Plan against Child Sex Tourism and the Don't Look Away campaign against child sex tourism. The flyer calls for the protection of children's rights and shows which measures can be taken to prevent child sexual abuse.
Documentary filmmaker, and member of the Better Volunteering, Better Care global working group, Chloe Sanguinette recently released a 28-minute documentary film, entitled "The Voluntourist." The film explores the phenomenon of voluntourism and features interviews with volunteers and local organizations in Southeast Asia - examining the motivations and impact of volunteers. "Without any skills, and over short periods of time, how much do you help?" asks the film. The film highlights the negative impact voluntourism may have on children, explaining how volunteers are often invited to work with children without undergoing any kind of background check, putting the children at risk.


 All Children Count But Not All Children Are Counted: An open letter to the UN Statistical Commission and Inter-Agency Expert Group on SDG Indicators
In a joint open letter to the Inter-Agency Expert Group, BCN and other children's NGOs and leading disability-rights organizations, have appealed to the UN to ensure that "children living outside of households and/or without parental care" are included in the monitoring framework. Other signatories include Child Fund Alliance, Columbia Group for Children in Adversity, Lumos, Global Alliance for Children, Hope & Homes for Children, Save the Children, SOS Children's Villages, and more.

The Role of Community Level Social Service Workers in Care Reform
This post on the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance blog, by Stela Grigoras from Partnership for Every Child, Moldova, and Florence Martin, director of the Better Care Network, provides an overview of the situation of children's care in Moldova and ways that community level workers are engaged in helping to reform the care system. Beth Bradford of Maestral International will also be presenting the joint BCN and Global Social Service Workforce Alliance working paper on the Role of Social Service Workforce Strengthening in Care Reform at the 14th ISPCAN European Regional Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect.

Investing in Children and Families to Avoid Unnecessary Separation
This Human Rights Council Side event was co-sponsored by Permanent Missions of Kenya, Portugal, Uruguay and Viet Nam, African Child Policy Forum, ATD 4th World, Better Care Network, CELCIS, Family for Every Child, For Our Children Foundation, Hope and Homes for Children, International Federation of Social Workers, International Foster Care Organisation, International Social Service, RELAF, Save the Children, SOS Children's Villages International and UNICEF. The side event included presentations on family separation in the African, Asian, European, and Latin American contexts.

We All Need Families at the End of the Day
BCN and UNICEF have released a series of advocacy videos highlighting the over-reliance on institutional care, and the care reform efforts underway, in Kenya and Ghana. The videos feature interviews with experts, including those who lived in children's homes, as well as a look into the lives of children and caregivers.

"Who Cares For Children and Why We Should Care" Presentation at the 5th International Conference of the International Society for Child Indicators
Florence Martin, director of the Better Care Network, presented on the need for better data on children's living and care arrangements at the 5th International Conference of the International Society for Child Indicators: "From Welfare to Well-being: Child Indicators in Research, Policy & Practice." The presentation includes a review of the research and literature on children's care and "orphanhood," an overview of the use of children's living arrangements as a measure for determining vulnerability, and a presentation of data extracted from DHS and MICS surveys regarding children's care and living arrangements and key findings from that data extraction.

BCN is on Twitter!
The Better Care Network joined Twitter this year. Follow us on Twitter @BetterCareNet to be part of the conversation on social media!


World Family Map 2015: Mapping Family Change and Child Well-Being Outcomes
The World Family Map Project monitors the global health of the family by tracking 16 indicators of family structure, family socioeconomics, family processes, and family culture in multiple countries around the world. Each annual report of the project shares the latest data on these indicators, as well as an original essay focusing on one important aspect of contemporary family life. In both the indicators and the essay, the World Family Map shares the highest-quality data available for countries that are representative of each region of the world. The featured essay in this year's World Family Map looks at the division of work and family responsibility.

From June 8-12, 2015, Buckner Guatemala, with support from the Displaced Children and Orphans Fund (DCOF) and the Guatemalan Court System, provided a series of two-day training sessions to multi-disciplinary teams from the court system. The two sessions of the two-day training included more than 80 professionals, and provided an opportunity to highlight the important role of multi-disciplinary teams (i.e. social workers, psychologists and pedagogues) within the Guatemalan child protection system in general and the court system specifically. View the first module from this training here.


A Continuum of Care, produced by the Faith to Action Initiative, provides an overview of a range of alternative care options for children who have been separated from parental care. In keeping with research and evidence-based guidance on the importance of family in the life of a child, the continuum places a high priority on family care while also recognizing the role that temporary residential care and small group homes can play in the spectrum of options to meet individual situations and needs. The webinar presentation of this report and the audio recording of the webinar are also available.


CHINA: China relaxes adoption rules for abandoned, trafficked children
Channel News Asia, 18 September 2015

INDIA: Foreign adoptions 'make children commodities', NGO challenges definition of human trafficking
ABC News, 8 September 2015

USA & GUATEMALA: As they grow in US, many adoptees from Guatemala confront uncertainty about their backgrounds
Star Tribune, 6 September 2015

GLOBAL: Children Should Not Have to Sacrifice Their Right to a Family to Receive an Education
The Huffington Post Blog, 4 September 2015

UGANDA: Adoption Lobby Alert: Child Trafficking in Uganda: critical times!
Against Child Trafficking, 2 September 2015

MEXICO: Mexico adoption-for-cash scheme took babies from poor mothers; official accused of involvement
US News, 28 August 2015

The Sunday Times, 23 Aug 2015

14th ISPCAN European Regional Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect
27-30 September 2015, Bucharest, Romania

Penn State's Fourth Annual Conference on Child Protection and Well-Being: New Frontiers in the Biology of Stress, Maltreatment and Trauma
30 September 2015, Pennsylvania, USA

10th ISPCAN Asia Pacific Regional Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect
24-28 October 2015, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

IFCO 2015 18th Biennial Conference: "Tell Someone Who Cares: Caring for Our Children"
8-11 November 2015 Sydney, Australia
BCN Knowledge Management & Communications Specialist
Application open until position is filled

The Family Care First Cambodia (FCFC) Child Protection Specialist
Position to begin in October

The Family Care First Cambodia (FCFC) Project Director
Position to begin in October