October-December 2015
"If we were implementing everything that we have written in regulations...we would be doing very well." 

- Child protection expert and key informant, from 'Making Decisions for the Better Care of Children,' noting that many commitments and aspirations toward effective gatekeeping remain on paper.

Published jointly with UNICEF, this new BCN Working Paper focuses on the role of gatekeeping in strengthening family-based care and reforming alternative care systems. Gatekeeping refers to systematic procedures aimed at ensuring that alternative care for children is used only when necessary, and that the type of care provided is suitable to the individual child. This Working Paper reviews different approaches to gatekeeping in five countries--Brazil, Bulgaria, Indonesia, Moldova, and Rwanda--to consider what has and has not worked, to analyze lessons learned from practice, and to reflect on the implications for improving policy and programs in this area. The Working Paper is based on a global literature review and key informant interviews with national and international child-care reform experts.
The Working Paper notes that while much progress has been made in improving gatekeeping, particularly within formal child-care systems, many challenges remain. The Working Paper identifies several fundamental requirements for moving forward, including: the need for a dedicated mechanism of experts who review individual cases and make recommendations; a legal and normative framework in line with international human rights practices and standards that supports both formal and non-formal gatekeeping mechanisms; availability of alternative care options; tools, protocols, and standards for gatekeeping that are tailored to the specific, local context; and increased political and financial commitment for approaches to provide community services and prevent unnecessary child-family separation. 


This edition's thematic focus highlights recent research, publications, and updates on the topic of children left behind as a result of parental migration.

Using data collected from a nationally-representative household survey conducted in Moldova between September 2011 and February 2012, this paper analyses the psychosocial health outcomes of children of migrant parents by comparing them with children without migrant parents (n = 1979).

International migration and human capital in Mexico: Networks or parental absence?
This article discusses the effect of international migration on the accumulation of human capital among Mexican youths aged 15-18 who are left behind. 

International parental migration and the psychological well-being of children in Ghana, Nigeria, and Angola
This study aims to bridge gaps in areas of knowledge by quantitatively investigating the association between transnational families and children's psychological well-being. It analyzes a survey conducted in three African countries in 2010-11 (Ghana, Angola and Nigeria) amongst pupils of secondary schools, comparing children in transnational families to those living with their parents in their country of origin.

The Feminization of International Migration and its Effects on the Children Left Behind: Evidence from the Philippines
This paper explores the effects of a mother's migration on her children's well-being in the Philippines. The study found suggestive evidence that children of migrant mothers are more likely to lag behind in school compared to children with migrant fathers.  

Consequences of parents' migration on children rearing and education
This study examines the consequences of the affective and educative nature of Romanian parents' migration related to their children.

Parental migration and the mental health of those who stay behind to care for children in South-East Asia
This paper uses data collected in 2008 and 2009 for a project known as Child Health and Migrant Parents in South-East Asia (CHAMPSEA) to address a largely neglected research area by investigating the mental health of those who stay behind in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam to care for the children of overseas migrants.

Protecting Children in the Context of International Migration
This article provides an overview of the situation of children affected by international migration and the national and international policies in place to protect those children. The article also reviews particular threats to children's safety and security posed by international policies in regards to children and migration. The paper concludes with recommendations for the Committee on the Rights of the Child's Annual Day of General Discussion (DGD).

Migration, remittances, and children's high school attendance: The case of rural China
This paper uses large, nationally-representative survey data to examine the impact of China's rural-urban migration on high school attendance of left-behind children by disentangling the effect of remittances from that of migration.

Remittances and Child Labour in Africa: Evidence from Burkina Faso
This paper explores the effects of remittance receipt on child labour in an African context, focusing on Burkina Faso. The study found that while remittances have no significant effect on child labour on average, transfers reduce child labour in long-term migrant households, for whom the disruptive effect of migration is no longer felt.

Migration and child growth in rural Guatemala
This paper examines the relationship between migration and child growth in the rural highlands of Guatemala, a region with substantial international migration outflows, significant remittance inflows, and some of the highest rates of child undernutrition in the world. 

Urban Services and Child Migration to the Slums of Nairobi
This paper combines qualitative research with three micro data sets and finds that the presence of urban basic services is importantly linked to child residence of migrant parents. 

Labor Migration and Time Use Patterns of the Left-behind Children and Elderly in Rural China
This analysis of the impact of internal migration on the time allocation patterns of the left-behind elderly and children in rural China, 1997-2006, contributes to the literature on changes in the well-being of the left-behind population. 

Imagining migration: Placing children's understanding of moving house in Malawi and Lesotho
Through an examination of over 800 thematic drawings and stories, regarding 'moving house', produced by children aged 10-17 years in urban and rural communities of Lesotho and Malawi, this paper explores southern African children's representations of migration. 

Understanding the Situation
This interpretive study examines the experiences of 54 Ethiopian emerging adults who aged out of institutional care facilities. Findings are derived from interviews and focus groups in which questions and activities focused on the challenges faced by participants and the supports they relied on throughout the transition process.

This report uses 80 surveys conducted by The Demographic and Health Surveys Program (DHS) and 55 Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS), between 2000 and 2014 in 70 different countries, to estimate the prevalence of the components and combinations of vulnerability.

The aim of this study from Friends International is to identify the perceptions of potential short-term international tourists concerning children's residential care in Cambodia.

This study from Lumos provides an analysis of a survey administered to temporary foster carers in June 2015 in seven regions of the Czech Republic to address negative perceptions of foster carers and to determine whether public criticisms were founded.

This handbook published by The Churches' Network for Non-Violence, The Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, and Save the Children provides links to tools and resources for engaging with and enlisting the support of religious communities and faith-based institutions towards the prohibition and elimination of corporal punishment of children.

Retrak, Chisomo Children's Club, and the Malawi Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability, and Social Welfare sought to address the lack of information on the number of children living and working on the streets in Malawi, a common problem throughout the world. The research team undertook an enumeration study of children on the streets in Lilongwe and Blantyre, using the capture/recapture methodology.

This study involved 59 children between ages 10 and 18 who were placed in long-term foster care in the Netherlands. They completed standardized questionnaires on relationships with their parents and foster parents and their wellbeing.

This study employed a cluster analysis to identify subpopulations in a large, national sample of 17-year-old youth in the US, based on the following indicators: educational attainment, connection to a supportive adult, adolescent parenthood, homelessness, substance abuse referral and incarceration. 

In 2011 and 2012, ISS (with support from UNICEF Viet Nam and MOLISA) undertook qualitative research into the root causes of child abandonment and relinquishment in Viet Nam, including by conducting interviews with 35 mothers, fathers or other family members who had relinquished a child. While poverty was cited as the main reason for relinquishment by study participants, the research showed that it was only when one or more negative events impacted an already-struggling family that the family decided to relinquish a child. The research revealed that it was these negative events-such as loss of income, poor health or a death in the family-that were the "tipping points" for the decision to relinquish a child.

This pamphlet and the accompanying video, a joint publication by Save the Children and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), share the experiences of children on the move in various countries, including Turkey, Italy, and Sweden. Globally, 22 million children are international migrants or refugees. More recently their number has been growing dramatically as a result of protracted conflicts, environmental degradation, chronic vulnerability and large-scale displacements of growing intensity and unpredictability. 
Policies and Standards
The European Union is the first regional organization to ratify a human rights treaty concluded under the auspices of the United Nations. The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) issued its historic Concluding Observations on the initial report of the European Union on October 2, 2015. The Committee recommended, among other things, that the European Union "take the necessary measures, including through the use of the European Structural and Investment Funds and other relevant European Union funds, to develop support services for boys and girls with disabilities and their families in local communities, foster deinstitutionalization, prevent any new institutionalization and promote social inclusion and access to mainstream, inclusive, quality education for boys and girls with disabilities." For more information on the Concluding Observations from Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities' 14th Session, see the Country Care Reviews below in this newsletter.

Retrak, a United Kingdom-based organization working to ensure that no child is forced to live on the street, recently published its Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) guide for conducting street outreach. The SOPs aim to provide guidance for the wider street practitioner community to improve the quality of care available to all children, and are driven by the guiding principles of following a rights-based approach; understanding each child and his or her situation; building relationships; being flexible; building in time for reflection; and ensuring staff care and protection.

On 10 December 2015, the Peruvian Congress approved by a near unanimous vote the Law prohibiting the use of physical and other humiliating punishment against children and adolescents. The law prohibits corporal punishment in all settings and amends the Code of Children and Adolescents by inserting a new article confirming the right to good treatment. According to the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, as of December 2015, 48 states have achieved prohibition of corporal punishment in all settings, including the home.

In this report, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) examined (1) the reasons adoptive families consider unregulated child custody transfers, and services that exist to support these families before they take such action; (2) what is known about the prevalence of these transfers; and (3) actions selected states and federal agencies have taken to address such transfers. 

UNICEF Executive Director, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children, and the Chairperson of the Committee on the Rights of the Child have issued a joint statement on Somalia's ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Learning from Practice
This document published by Global Communities and Hope and Homes for Children highlights some of the key learnings from the Ishema Mu Muryango program, a program funded by USAID's Displaced Children and Orphans Funds to safely and sustainably reintegrate children living in institutions in two districts of Rwanda into their families or communities and prevent further institutionalization.

Journeys of Faith Study Series
This new six-part study series from the Faith to Action Initiative, Caring for Orphans and Vulnerable Children: A Study Guide for Journeys of Faith, is designed to support the small faith group study accompanying 'Journeys of Faith: A Resource Guide for Orphan Care Ministries Helping Children in Africa & Beyond.' 

This webinar from Faith to Action Initiative presents key strategies for expanding the capacity of families to care for orphans and vulnerable children. 

Kinship Care Report: Syrian Refugee Children in Jordan
The overall objective of this research by Save the Children was to increase understanding of kinship care practices as experienced by Syrian refugee children and caregivers in Jordan, which can be used to inform programming and policy developments on children's care and protection in a humanitarian context.  

Outcomes for Children from Household Economic Strengthening Interventions - A Research Synthesis
This review focuses on the findings from high-quality published evaluation research into economic strengthening (ES) programs implemented by NGOs in resource-poor environments in the developing world, where external evaluators measured impacts on a variety of indicators of children's or youth's protection and wellbeing.

Applying a Family-Level Economic Strengthening Intervention to Improve Education and Health-Related Outcomes of School-Going AIDS-Orphaned Children: Lessons from a Randomized Experiment in Southern Uganda
This study was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of a family-level economic strengthening intervention with regard to school attendance, school grades, and self-esteem in AIDS-orphaned adolescents aged 12-16 years from 10 public rural primary schools in southern Uganda. 


Better Volunteering Better Care Collaboration Workshop, Bangkok Thailand
On 19th and 20th November, members of the Better Volunteering Better Care global working group and other child rights and responsible tourism actors gathered to further develop initiatives to discourage international volunteering in residential care centres. The goal of the workshop was to review and learn from activities so far, bring cross-sector perspectives on planned initiatives, and to contribute ideas to the future efforts of Better Volunteering Better Care. 

Exchange meeting on Volunteering and Voluntourism - Berlin, Germany
On 19th October, a collective of organisations hosted a workshop on volunteering and voluntourism. The purpose of the meeting was to follow up the publication of the study From Volunteering to Voluntourism - Challenges for the Responsible Development of a Growing Travel Trend and to encourage a quality debate around best practice in a growing sector. A subsequent meeting has been planned for 6 months time in Berlin. For more details about this initiative, please contact volunteering@bettercarenetwork.org  

Responsible Tourism Day at the World Travel Market, London UK
Better Volunteering Better Care was well represented at the World Travel Market this year (2 - 5th November). Becky Smith from Save the Children UK and Emmanuelle Werner Gillioz from Friends International presented as part of the Child Protection session and Sallie Grayson from people and places also spoke about the initiative as part of her presentation in the Changemakers session.

Irish Development Agency Comlmh has recently updated its Code of Good Practice for Volunteer Sending Agencies. The CoGP can be used as a tool by any organization or group sending volunteers overseas in a development context, whether small or large, for-profit or not-for-profit, faith-based or secular.

Wisdom Wednesdays, Kathmandu, Nepal
Next Generation Nepal, in partnership with members of Nepal's Preventing Orphanage Voluntourism Working Group - The Embassy of the United States, Learning Service, The Umbrella Foundation, Forget Me Not - have launched a new campaign to raise awareness locally on issues surrounding orphanage voluntourism and ethical tourism/volunteering in Nepal. The campaign involves a series of talks run in the tourist district of Kathmandu (Thamel), and is targeted at tourists and volunteers, but also expats who may be involved in supporting local development projects.

You can find more information on the Better Volunteering, Better Care Initiative here!
In this issue, we highlight the care-related Concluding Observations adopted by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at its 14th Session held from 17 August-4 September 2015, with a particular focus on sections addressing children's care.
Click below to read the Country Care Reviews for the following countries:


BBC News, 16 December 2015

BBC News, 13 December 2015

Huffington Post, 9 December 2015

BURKINA FASO: The town of women: A place where wives don't see their husbands for years
BBC News, 2 December 2015

BBC News, 30 November 2015

Travel and Tour World, 25 November 2015

JAPAN: Panel mulls allowing children to stay in foster care until 20
The Japan Times, 18 November 2015

ETHIOPIA & ERITREA: Why Eritrea's children are fleeing to Ethiopia
BBC News, 10 November 2015

UGANDA: Police Close Down Masaka Orphanage
All Africa, 9 November 2015

UK: The 13 year-old girl sent on a 'day-trip' to Australia
BBC News, 29 October 2015

USA: Family Detention: Still Happening, Still Damaging 
Human Rights First, 20 Oct 2015

INDIA: Mother Teresa's nuns say no to single parent adoptions in India
Thomson Reuters Foundation, 15 October 2015

AUSTRALIA: Aboriginal children in protection soars, care numbers at 'crisis' levels
PerthNow, 10 October 2015

ITALY: Yahya's luck
BBC News Magazine, 8 October 2015

USA: Records: Texas missionary admits to sexually assaulting boys at orphanage
Laredo Morning Times, 5 October 2015

GLOBAL: PEPFAR Announces Launch of HIV Prevention Target and Investment to Support AIDS-Free Future for Adolescent Girls and Young Women
PEPFAR, 26 September 2015

SOUTH KOREA: Why I gave up my baby
BBC News Magazine, 2 October 2015

USA: The U.S. has deported more than half a million parents since 2009. Here's what happens to their kids.
Washington Post, 21 September 2015


ANPPCAN & ISPCAN International Conference on Children and Armed Conflict: Call for Abstracts
Nairobi, Kenya, 7 February 2016

Chiang Mai, Thailand, 11-14 February 2016

First International Conference on Residential Child and Youth Care in a Developing World: Caring to Notice!
Colombo, Sri Lanka, 23 February 2016

Noida, India, 18-19 March 2016
Catholic Relief Services Director I-4Children Project
Position open until filled