This is the second of a five-post blog series introducing our USAID-funded “Protection and Quality of Care for Children Project” exploring its three principal components, and putting it all into a wider context. (Jump back to Part 1 here.)

This post focuses on the first of the project’s three main components: strengthening systems to support children without adequate family care.

This component focuses on supporting Salvadoran government’s efforts to take stock of its efforts to date to care for, protect, and promote the healthy development of the country’s most vulnerable children.  The results of this assessment will be used to refine care and protection policies and practices.

Fundamental to this process is getting a bird’s-eye view of the social-service workforce in El Salvador and assessing the overall quality of social work.  The main activity under this component involves mapping social workers’ roles and responsibility for case management and supervision which will entail, among other things:

  • assessing child protection and case management skills;
  • assessing curricula for university social-work degrees;
  • collecting data on reports of abuse and neglect, cases investigated, and their disposition; and,
  • determining caseloads and turnover.

These activities will result in the identification of gaps in financial, human, technical, and procedural capacity and make recommendations to address such gaps, and it will guide the project’s third component which includes support for innovative approaches to utilize the current childcare and social-service workforce to expand family-based care.

Another important activity under this component involves assessing the implementation to date of El Salvador’s deinstitutionalization policy. The assessment will be done under the direction of, and in collaboration with, ISNA, the Salvadoran government’s ministry for children.  The assessment will address, among other things, the quality of case records, the status and well-being of deinstitutionalized children, and, the quality of family-based care received by formerly institutionalized children.

Finally, under this component there will be an assessment of the quality of care in El Salvador’s remaining public and NGO-run residential care centers, of which there are approximately 30. The assessment will identify how each center can improve quality of care and children’s developmental outcomes through operational changes, training, and mentoring (the project’s second component), and will gauge their readiness or capacity to provide social-work-related services (the project’s third component).

Please keep reading this series of posts to learn more about the other components of this project and how they will help children in El Salvador.  (Jump to Part 3 — “Training and Mentoring.”)