Valini Leitch
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Alternative Family -Based Care Project

Name of the project

Alternative Family-Based Care Project

 

Dates of implementation (start and completed)

6th Jan 2013 – 31st March, 2015

 

Objectives and activities and partners

 

Objectives

 

The Overall Objective is to collaborate with the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security – Child Care & Protection Agency (MHSSS-CCPA) to build strong systems, policies, practices and guidelines thatensure the new child protection legislations becomes operational for the social protection of children to have family or family type environment to thrive and develop to their full potential free from abuse by Dec 2014.

Specific objectives: 1. Collaboration with CCPA to strengthened social protection services for the provision of alternative family-based care (foster and kinship care) for children without parental care and growing up in institutions/orphanages and prevent the separation of children at risk of losing parental care by Dec 2014.

  1. Capacities of 30 human rights workers strengthened to effectively deliver comprehensive alternative family based care services to children and their families in line with the UN guidelines on alternative care and local legislations by Dec 2014.

 

Activities

 

  1. Collaboration with the CCPA to strengthen alternative family-based care inclusive of foster and kinship care for 300 children without parental care and 200 children at risk of losing parental care.

2.One Trainer from the Better Care Network develops the capacity of 30 human rights workers (ChildLinK and CCPA staff) to strengthen the delivery of alternative family-based care services for children who cannot be cared for by their parents.

  1. Organizational development training for the strengthening of institutional processes (CCPA &ChildLinKInc), practices and learning and enacting appropriate systemic changes for the implementation of the UN Guidelines for alternative care in Guyana.
  2. Parenting Skills Education (PSE) training increasing 200 caregivers’ skills and knowledge in parenting and ensure that children in foster/kinship care or at risk of growing up without their families are protected from all forms of violence and abuse.
  3. Conductpublic awareness campaigns to promote alternative family-based care and increase dialogue and information on the care and protection of children to tackle the abuse and separation of children whilst strengthening the voice of stakeholders including vulnerable children.

 

Achievements

 

  • At the close of this project, 236 children in foster/kinship care and 212 children at risk were monitored by the CPA and ChildLinK and received psychosocial support as necessary to work through their challenges.
  • A total of 236 children were placed in alternative family-base care 110 (59 females and 51males) of these were placed in kinship care while the other 126 (65 females and 61 males) were placed in foster care. Of the children the on the foster care register approximately 61% are with family members and able to receive financial support. The remaining 39% are in non relative foster care. Approximately 58% of the children are in the 0-12 age group while 42% are in the 13-18 age groups.
  • ChildLinK was able to equip 319 parents/caregivers in information and practical information on how to strengthen their parenting skills to foster a better relationship with their children.
  • A total of 212 children received support over this period, 176 (94 Females and 82 Males) children received counselling while 36 (19 Males and 17 females) children were monitored through home and school visits. Of these children that were supported 181 were referral from Childcare and Protection Agency, while the additional 31 children were siblings and relatives of the children that were referred.
  • ChildLinK is collaborated with Guyana Times Newspaper to publish articles on parenting and child abuse to the Guyanese population for awareness on the issues. To date the project has published fifty five four (54) articles with the theme depicting successful parenting and including successful psychosocial interventions with children and families while providing parenting tips for parents.
  • Four (4) pre recorded television Panel Discussions were conducted on the 15th& 22nd February, 1st and 8th March with Children and three Live shows on 12th, 19th& 26th March with Parents and teachers who have participated in and benefited from ChildLinK Capacity building sessions along with ChildLinK and CPA representatives.
  • ChildLinK hosted a radio discussion on 20th November 2013 with children on the post MDG’s for 2015. Children who participated in the post MDG survey in Guyana in July 2012 were given the opportunity to share the findings and their opinions.
  • A 5 Episode Parenting DVD produced by ChildLinK addressing Child Protection, Education, Survival, Family and Identity was aired in September during the Child Protection awareness month and in December 2013. AVAILABLE HERE
  • A 30minutes documentary was developed highlighting the success, importance and impact of the Alternative care program within the society. This DVD was aired on popular television stations to sensitized and bring awareness to the general public on the need for the Alternative programme for children who are at risk during the month of April 2014 and also in April 2015. AVAILABLE HERE
  • A total of 550 posters and 200 bumper stickers were developed over the life of the initiative. 200 of these posters and 200 bumper stickers were developed around the child protection theme “joining hands for child protection” to target organisations, businesses and vehicle drivers in the first year of the action. These were distributed to taxi and minibus drivers and local businesses/organisations on the 29th November 2013. Another 350 Poster were developed highlighting the theme “Be Children’s Champion” to target organisations/institutions and businesses in the second year. AVAILABLE HERE
  • 35 Human Rights Workers are competent and fully trained to deliver holistic services to children and their families in alternative family-based care services. Approximately 55% of these human rights workers are in frequent contact through the NGO network forum that was establish. At this forum human rights works are supporting each other with addition recommendation and services that will better meet the needs of their clients.
  • MHSSS, ChildLinK and Unicef lead the consultation and drafted an Alternative Family BasedCare Policy that had incorporate the Guidelines on alternative care for children into its programme for children growing up without parental care. This document has be examined and deliberated upon by relevant stakeholders, including children and their families. The draft policy is now awaiting endorsement by the Minister of Social Protection.
  • 319 (31Male& 289Female) caregivers providing alternative family-based or family care to children were equipped with the knowledge to care for children in a way that maintains their best interests. Majority of the participants has in some way or another incorporated what were shared and learned in the Parenting skills sessions in to the daily lives as parents. A few tried to incorporate the teachings, however they were not consistent.
  • Several public awareness activities were planned and conducted such as 54 news paper articles, 10 television panel discussions, 3 different DVD were aired, 2 documentary were developed and aired, 2 posters with different messages totaling 550 total printed for distribution, 3 community tours and 1 Children Day. The combination of all these activities helped to make the protection of children a frequently discussed topic among peers.   In some cases it provided the avenue for reporting cases of child abuse.