Skip to main content

Using Child Well-Being Assessments to Track Progress in Family-Based Reintegration

Abstract

Retrak, an international non-governmental organization operating in Africa and Latin America, prioritizes family-based reintegration for children living and working on the streets. Retrak has adopted the use of well-being assessments to monitor the progress of each child through their reintegration journey. This paper reflects upon lessons learned by Retrak and explores the challenges and the benefits of developing a body of evidence on reintegration good practice. Children’s well-being assessments have revealed overall improvements during reintegration with some areas such as education and psychosocial well-being being slower to improve. Understanding how well-being changes during reintegration has provided insights to inform program planning and a platform from which to build support for reintegration with donors and policy makers. Recommendations include the need for more organizations to monitor reintegration programs and share results so that methods can be revised and improved. Information gathered through case management systems should be used to ease the monitoring of both changes in children’s lives and the quality and effectiveness of reintegration processes. Weaknesses in gathering data through case management systems can be reduced by clear guidelines and triangulation with different methods.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    Bond is a UK membership body for organizations working in international development. As part of a focus on effectiveness and transparency, Evidence Principles have been developed as a checklist for assessing and improving the quality of evidence in NGOs’ evaluations, research reports and case studies (further information at www.bond.org.uk).

  2. 2.

    The Child Protection Monitoring and Evaluation Reference Group (CP MERG) was established in 2010 to provide a space for collaboration and learning on child protection monitoring, evaluation and research. The group offers a peer review service for new tools, methodologies and learning products with the aim of improving standards and promoting high quality products (further information at www.cpmerg.org).

References

  1. Ager, A., Akesson, B. & Schunk, K. (2010). Mapping of Child Protection M&E Tools: Final Report to UNICEF. CGCA, Columbia University and the CPC Learning Network. http://www.cpcnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/4b.-ME-Tools-Final-Report.pdf. Accessed 18 November 2014.

  2. Ager, A., Zimmerman, C., Unlu, K., Rinehart, R., Nyberg, B., Zeanah, C., Hunleth, J., Bastiaens, I., Weldy, A., Bachman, G., Blum, A. B., & Strottman, K. (2012). What strategies are appropriate for monitoring children outside of family care and evaluating the impact of the programs intended to serve them? Child Abuse & Neglect, 36, 732–742.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Ayala, L., Jurado, A., & Perez-Mayo, J. (2011). Income poverty and multidimensional deprivation: lessons from cross-regional analysis. Review of Income and Wealth, 57(1), 40–60.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., Steele, H., Zeanah, C. H., Muhamedrahimov, R. J., Vorria, P., Dobrova-Krol, N. A., Steele, M., van IJzendoorn, M. H., Juffer, F. & Gunnar, M. R. (2011). Attachment and emotional development in institutional care: Characteristics and catch-up. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development 76(4), 62–91.

  5. Barnes, H., Noble, M., Wright, G., & Dawes, A. (2009). A geographical profile of child deprivation in South Africa. Child Ind Res, 2, 181–199.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Barrientos, A. & Lasso de la Vega, C. (2011). Assessing wellbeing and deprivation in later life: A multidimensional counting approach. Brooks World Poverty Institute working paper 151.

  7. Beazley, H. (2003). The construction and protection of individual and collective identities by street children and youth in Indonesia. Children, Youth and Environments, 13(1), Spring.

  8. Betancourt, T., Simmons, S., Borisova, I., Brewer, S., Iweala, U., & de la Soudière, M. (2008). High hopes, grim reality: reintegration and the education of former child soldiers in Sierra Leone. Comparative Education Review, 52(4), 565–587.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Betancourt, T., Agnew-Blais, J., Gilman, S., Williams, D., & Ellis, H. (2010). Past horrors, present struggles: the role of stigma in the association between war experiences and psychosocial adjustment among former child soldiers in Sierra Leone. Social Science & Medicine, 70(1), 17–26.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Boothby, N., Crawford, J., & Halperin, J. (2006). Mozambique child soldier life outcome study: Lessons learned in rehabilitation and reintegration efforts. Global Public Health, 1(1), 87–107.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Central Statistical Agency [CSA, Ethiopia] & ICF International. (2012). Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey 2011. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Calverton, Maryland, USA: Central Statistical Agency and ICF International.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Corcoran, S. (2015). Disabling streets or disabling education? Challenging a deficit model of street-connectedness. Disability and the Global South, 2(2), 603–619.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Corcoran, S., & Wakia, J. (2013). Evaluating Outcomes: Retrak’s use of the Child Status Index to measure wellbeing of street-connected children. Manchester: Retrak. https://www.retrak.org/impact/. Accessed 18 November 2014.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Coren, E., Hossain, R., Pardo Pardo, J., Veras, M., Chakraborty, K., Harris, H. & Martin, A. (2013). Interventions for promoting reintegration and reducing harmful behaviour and lifestyles in street-connected children and young people (Review). The Cochrane collaboration, Wiley and Sons Ltd.

  15. Crewes, M. (2006). What’s up on the streets of Addis? A situational analysis of street children and the NGOs working with them in Addis Ababa. Ethiopia: Retrak. (internal document).

    Google Scholar 

  16. Csáky, C. (2009). Keeping children out of harmful institutions: why we should be investing in family-based care. London: Save the Children UK. http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/sites/default/files/docs/Keeping_Children_Out_of_Harmful_Institutions_Final_20.11.09_1.pdf. Accessed 30 November 2009.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Davies, M. (2008). A childish culture? shared understandings, agency and intervention: an anthropological study of street children in Northwest Kenya. Childhood, 15(3), 309–330.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. EMOE - Ethiopia Ministry of Education. (2010). Education Statistics Annual Abstract 2001 E.C./2008-09 GC. Addis Ababa: Ministry of Education.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Evaluation, M. (2012). Clarification regarding usage of the Child Status Index. Chapel Hill: Measure Evaluation. http://www.cpc.unc.edu/measure/resources/publications/fs-12-75. Accessed 8 January 2013.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Ministry of Women’s Affairs. (2009). Alternative Childcare Guidelines on Community-based Childcare, Reunification and Reintegration Program, Foster Care, Adoption and Institutional Care Service. Addis Ababa: Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Federal HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office. (2010). Standard Service Delivery Guidelines for Orphans and Vulnerable Children’s Care and Support Programs. Addis Ababa: Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Fluke, J. D., Goldman, P. S., Shriberg, J., Hillis, S. D., Yun, K., Allison, S., & Light, E. (2012). Systems, strategies, and interventions for sustainable long-term care and protection of children with a history of living outside of family care. Child Abuse & Neglect, 36, 722–731.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Hatløy, A., & Huser, A. (2005). Identification of Street Children: Characteristics of Street Children in Bamako and Accra. FAFO: Research Program on Trafficking and Child Labour. http://www.fafo.no/∼fafo/media/com_netsukii/474.pdf. Accessed 5 February 2014.

    Google Scholar 

  24. ITAD (2014). Investing in monitoring, evaluation and learning: issues for NGOs to consider. Big Lottery Fund, Bond, Comic Relief, NIDOS and DFID. https://www.bond.org.uk/data/files/publications/Investing_in_MEL.pdf. Accessed 14 April 2014.

  25. Johnson, R., Browne, K., & Hamilton-Giachritsis, C. (2006). Young children in institutional care at risk of harm. Trauma, Violence and Abuse, 7(1), 1–26.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Karabanow, J. (2004). Getting off the street: exploring the processes of young people’s street exits. American Behavioural Scientist, 31, 772–788.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Karabanow, J. (2008). Creating a culture of hope: lessons from street children in Canada and Guatemala. International Social Work, 46(3), 369–386.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Maholmes, V., Fluke, J. D., Rinehart, R. D., & Huebner, G. (2012). Protecting children outside of family care in low and middle income countries: what does the evidence say? Child Abuse & Neglect, 36, 685–688.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development. (2011). National Strategic Programme Plan of Interventions for Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children 2011/12-2015/16. Kampala: Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Noble, M., Wright, G., & Cluver, L. (2006). Developing a child-focused and multidimensional model of child poverty for South Africa. Journal of Children and Poverty, 12(1), 39–53.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Noble, M., Wright, G., & Cluver, L. (2007). Conceptualising, defining and measuring child poverty in South Africa: an argument for a multidimensional approach. In A. Dawes, R. Bray, & A. van der Merwe (Eds.), Monitoring child well-being: A South African rights-based approach (pp. 53–71). Cape Town: HSRC.

    Google Scholar 

  32. O’Donnell, K., Nyangara, F., Murphy, R., Cannon, M., & Nyberg, B. (2013). Child Status Index: a tool for assessment the well-being of orphans and vulnerable children—manual (2nd ed.). Chapel Hill: Measure Evaluation. http://www.cpc.unc.edu/measure/publications/ms-08-31a. Accessed 9 December 2013.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Republic of Kenya (2014). Guidelines for the Alternative Family Care of Children in Kenya.

  34. Retrak. (2011). Retrak’s model: journeying together. Manchester: Retrak.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Retrak. (2013). Retrak Standard Operating Procedures: Family reintegration. Manchester: Retrak. https://www.retrak.org/content/uploads/2015/05/Retrak-Family-Reintegration-SOPs-May-13-P.pdf. Accessed 15 June 2013.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Retrak. (2014). Mid-term review of “Reintegration of street children and community-based child protection in SNNPR, Ethiopia”. Manchester: Retrak. https://www.retrak.org/content/uploads/2015/09/SNNP-Reintegration-web.pdf. Accessed 20 September 2015.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Retrak. (2015). Final Evaluation report of “Uganda street child reintegration, foster care and family support” project. Manchester: Retrak.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Schimmel, N. (2006). Freedom and autonomy of street children. The International Journal of Children’s Rights, 14, 211–233.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Schrader McMillan, A., & Herrera, E. (2014). Strategies to ensure the sustainable reintegration of children without parental care: JUCONI. Mexico: Family for Every Child and Juconi. http://www.familyforeverychild.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Children-s_Reintegration_in_Mexico.pdf. Accessed 22 April 2014.

    Google Scholar 

  40. Smith, K., & Wakia, J. (2012). Retrak technical brief: Family reintegration for children living on the streets. Manchester: Retrak.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Smyke, A. T., Zeanah, C. H., Fox, N. A., & Nelson, C. A. (2009). A new model of foster care for young children: the Bucharest Early Intervention Project. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 18(3), 721–734.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Terre des hommes (2009). Supporting child (re)integration. Terre des hommes policy paper.

  43. Thomas de Benítez, S. (2011). State of the World’s Street Children: Research. London: Consortium for Street Children. http://www.streetchildrenresources.org/resources/state-of-the-worlds-street-children-research/. Accessed 19 January 2012.

    Google Scholar 

  44. UN General Assembly, Human Rights Council, Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children, A/Res/64/142 (24 February 2010) New York, United Nations.

  45. UNICEF, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs & Street Invest (2010). Street Children Headcount 2010.

  46. Van Blerk, L. (2005). Negotiating spatial identities: mobile perspectives on street life in Uganda. Children’s Geographies, 3(1), 5–21.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Van Blerk, L. (2013). New street geographies: the impact of urban governance on the mobilities of Cape Town’s street youth. Urban Studies, 50(3), 556–573.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Wakia, J. (2010). Why are children on the Streets? Manchester: Retrak.

    Google Scholar 

  49. Wedge, J. (2013). Reaching for Home: Global learning on family reintegration in low and lower-middle income countries. Interagency Group on Reintegration. http://www.cpcnetwork.org/resource/reaching-for-home-global-learning-on-family-integration-in-low-and-lower-middle-income-countries/. Accessed 30 January 2014.

  50. Williamson, J., & Greenberg, A. (2010). Better Care Network Working Paper 9. New York: Better Care Network. Families, Not Orphanages, http://www.bettercarenetwork.org/sites/default/files/attachments/Families%20Not%20Orphanages.pdf. Accessed 3 January 2011.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Joanna Wakia.

Ethics declarations

Ethics

Confidentially and anonymity is always maintained when using information from case management records for program monitoring purposes, in line with Retrak’s Child Protection and Vulnerable Adults Policies. Paper records of the well-being assessments, completed by social workers, are kept in the children’s files in locked cabinets. When data is shared for analysis the child’s ID number is the only identifying information (beyond age, gender and town of origin). The use of Child Status Index as a measure of well-being is in line with government policies for vulnerable children (e.g., Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development 2011; Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia et al. 2010) and Retrak has made appropriate authorities aware of its use of this tool.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Corcoran, S.L., Wakia, J. Using Child Well-Being Assessments to Track Progress in Family-Based Reintegration. Glob Soc Welf 3, 137–145 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40609-016-0061-5

Download citation

Keywords

  • Children
  • Reintegration
  • Well-being
  • Monitoring and evaluation