This is the fourth of a five-post blog series introducing our USAID-funded “Protection and Quality of Care for Children Project” and its three principal components, and putting it all into a wider context. (Jump back to Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3.)
The Project’s third component focuses on supporting the ongoing transition from residential to family care for vulnerable children in El Salvador.
The number of children in residential care decreased from 6,000 in 2009 to an estimated 1,500 in 2017. In 2017, for instance, 250 institutionalized children were reintegrated with families. Much good work has been done to date on the care transition, but challenges remain. To help the government address these challenges and achieve a lasting re-orientation of the residential care sector toward family and community-based care, our Project will:
- promote and develop the desire for change within the residential care sector.
- support the development of the legal and policy reform necessary to permit residential care institutions to take on social casework such as family reunification, reintegration, and preservation; and coordinate with judges, local child rights boards and social service staff in the transition process.
- demonstrate how existing residential care professionals can be re-trained and re-deployed to do case management, supervision, training in parenting, and family support;
- pilot foster and kinship care approaches modeled on prior work done by NGOs and others;
- strengthen the system to monitor the well-being and safety of children placed in family-based care.
These activities will be informed by the assessment of the government’s de-institutionalization program that we will conduct under the first component of the project.
That’s the “Protection and Quality of Care for Children Project” in a nutshell! Please stay tuned for Part 5 of this series, which will explain the connection between the project and the humanitarian crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border. (Jump to Part 4 — “The Connection between Our Project and the Border Crisis.”)