Guidelines on Children’s Reintegration

Liselle Finlay Family for Every Child • 23 December 2020

It is widely recognised that a safe and secure family is the optimal environment for the growth and development of girls and boys. Maximum efforts should therefore be made to reintegrate the millions of children globally who are currently separated back into their families and communities. Family reintegration is what the majority of these children and their families want, and a loss of family care can have a fundamental impact on child well-being and development.  Despite the importance of family reintegration, to date, solid guidance for safe and effective reintegration is limited.

These guidelines attempt to fill this gap. They explore cross-cutting principles of good practice in children’s reintegration, and provide guidance on programme design for work with children, families, schools and communities. They are aimed primarily at child protection programme managers in low and lower-middle
income contexts, though it is hoped that policymakers and those working in higher income settings will also find them informative. 

The Guidelines on Children’s Reintegration are intended to help governments, donors, NGOs, faith-based organisations and practitioners to pursue reintegration as the primary response in cases of separated children. They provide practical guidance for effective reintegration that can help organisations to design high quality programmes; measure impact; train practitioners; and pursue national level systemic change in support of reintegration.

The Guidelines are now available in English, Spanish, Russian, French, Portuguese and Arabic.  A synopsis of the report in English is also available attached.

The Guidelines call for:

  • Support for children and families at all stages of the process for proper preparation and follow-up

  • A holistic package including economic strengthening, access to basic services, therapeutic support, and efforts to address violence and abuse in families.

  • Work to enable communities to monitor and assist reintegrating children, and to reduce stigma and discrimination.

  • Strengthening of child protection systems to create an environment which promotes effective reintegration 

The guidelines were created with a group of child protection agencies. Together, they conducted an extensive literature review, consulted with 158 children, 127 service providers and policy-makers from 66 organisations across over 20 countries and field tested the Guidelines in two countries. The Guidelines have been endorsed by 31 child protection agencies, including the world’s largest child protection agencies*. 

*The Guidelines on Children’s Reintegration have been endorsed by: Better Care Network, Bethany Global, CESVI, Associação Brasileira Terra dos Homens, Challenging Heights, Child Fund International, CINDI, CPC Learning Network, ECPAT, Elevate Children, Faith to Action Initiative, Family for Every Child, Friends International, Hayat Sende, Hope and Homes for Children, International Social Service, JUCONI, Lumos, Maestral, Next Generation Nepal, Partnerships for Every Child Moldova, Railway Children, RELAF, Retrak, Sanlaap, Save the Children, SOS Children’s Villages International, Undugu Society of Kenya, UNICEF, Women’s Refugee Commission, World Vision. The development of the Guidelines was funded by the GHR Foundation.