Eswatini Develops reintegration guidelines
SOS Children’s Villages management has met to analyze and validate the newly developed reintegration guidelines at Mdolomba this July. Over the years the organisation has had challenges in re-integrating children back to their families and communities, mostly because reintegration is a very delicate, sensitive and emotional process for all stakeholders involved. It cannot be one size fit all approach as children come into alternative care for various reasons and have unique challenges. The reintegration guidelines have been developed after the introduction of the SOS Children’s Villages Regional Reintegration Guidelines (2021). The National Association started the process of engaging relevant stakeholders towards the localization of the regional reintegration guidelines in March 2022. These stakeholders involved Alternative Care Coordinators, Social Workers, Foster Care Manager, Programme Directors, Children & Young People and the Department of Social Welfare Social Workers. The stakeholders reviewed the regional guidelines and shared their inputs on critical issues that the local reintegration guidelines should consider.
The aim of these guidelines is to improve the reintegration of all children who have been separated children through an emergency and non-emergency situations. The main objectives of the guidelines is to streamline and standardize the child reintegration process across all programme locations within the National Association. This is to ensure compliance and alignment with locally and internationally recognized child care frameworks, reintegration frameworks and child care Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and processes. The guidelines will improve quality child care service delivery and standardize child care practices. The various stakeholders input is being incorporated into the developed reintegration guidelines, to also align it with the Leaving Care Guide. The final product will be shared with the board for approval.
Emergency placement guidelines
The National Management Team together with Programme Management reviewed the emergency placement guidelines at Mdolomba, in a meeting held on the 14 July 2022. In recent times many global and national factors have cause children to lose parental care, such as Covid-19 and the recent political unrest. As a key stakeholders to alternative care, SOS Children’s Villages has opted to introduce another care option to support government during urgent situation where an immediate placement is needed for a child who in on the verge of losing parental care or has already lost it. This care option will give the Department of Social Welfare adequate time to investigate on possibilities of reintegrating the child with his/her biological parents or immediate next of keen within the kinship care setting.
After all this has been exhausted to the fullest and it is discovered that the child need to be placed in alternative care, this will still be within the government social workers as duty bearers of alternative care to identify and effect the best necessity and suitable alternative care option for the child. SOS Children’s Villages share the strong sentiment as highlighted in the UN guidelines that the institutionalization of children should be prevented where possible while families and communities continue to be given priority in providing alternative care for children who have lost parental care. The emergency care option is a short and temporal care of not more than 6 months, customized to provide suitable child care in a family like situation that will embrace the rights and needs of the child. This document has been successfully validated and ready for submission to the board.