March 7 2013
Moving forward: Implementing the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children
SOS Children's Villages is pleased to announce the launch of the handbook for the implementation of the UN Guidelines, Moving Forward: Implementing the 'Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children' on 7 March at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
07/03/2013 - Over two million children around the world live in care institutions. At least 80% of these have one or both parents alive. Many more children are in need of alternative care and are in danger of becoming unnecessarily separated from their families. These children are subject to higher risks of exploitation, abuse and other violations.
The Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children, unanimously welcomed by the UN in 2009, have become an important tool for decision makers and service providers in the child care sector to address the special vulnerabilities of children deprived of their family. They mark a fundamental policy shift indicating to States that, as a first priority, they should invest in strengthening the capacity of families as well as in mechanisms to prevent separation.
Since the approval of the Guidelines, however, the continuing challenge has been their implementation. As remarked by Jean Zermatten, Chairperson of the CRC Committee*, "as with all internationally agreed standards and principles, however, the real test lies in determining how they can be made a reality throughout the world for those that they target – in this case, children who are without, or are at risk of losing, parental care".
Implementing the Guidelines
SOS Children's Villages is pleased to announce the launch of the handbook for the implementation of the UN Guidelines, Moving Forward: Implementing the ‘Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children' on 7 March at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS), together with a team of child protection experts, governments, UN Agencies, and NGOs - including SOS Children's Villages - have been working for over a year to produce an implementation handbook. The publication Moving Forward: Implementing the ‘Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children' provides practical guidance on using the Guidelines to inspire reform of social welfare and alternative care systems. It highlights implications for policy-making, and provides links to what is already being effectively done on the ground. Above all, the handbook provides insight and encouragement to all professionals on what can feasibly be done in resource constrained contexts.
Matilde Luna, Project Leader from RELAF (Latin America) confirms that "the handbook provides child protection specialists and decision makers with inspiration for the design of national policies to better implement the Guidelines in Latin America. It builds on the trail-blazing progress that the region has continued to make with respect to alternative care in our region".
SOS Children's Villages calls upon governments and civil society to uphold the principles of the Guidelines, using the handbook to better support families to prevent unnecessary separation and protect children in need of alternative care.
The publication will be available in English, French and Spanish and in Russian at www.alternativecareguidelines.org
*Committee on the Rights of the Child