Identifying and Addressing Risk in the Implementation of Alternative Care Policies in Cambodia

Abstract

Propelled by a commitment to the rights of children, Cambodia is moving forward with family-based alternative care initiatives that build on existing efforts to strengthen the child protection system. This short human rights in action article take a critical approach to the translation of policy to practice and highlights risks involved with haste, outcomes measured in numbers and unrealistic timeframes, and rapidly transforming practice with nascent investment in a country’s capacity to assess and respond to the real needs of children and families within their communities. The importance of continuing collaboration between government and civil society, building workforce capacity and gatekeeping initiatives is discussed as essential to address challenges while strengthening responses to vulnerable children and families. We conclude that less haste and more capacity building are important to mitigate against risk and make eight recommendations supported by collaborations between government and civil society to strengthen the system.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance. (2017). Cambodia disaster management reference handbook. Hawaii. Retrieved from: https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/CFE%20DM%20Reference%20Handbook-Cambodia%202017.pdf. Access 22 September 2018.

  2. Chou, S., & Browne, K. (2008). The relationship between institutional care and the international adoption of children in Europe. Adoption and Fostering, 32(1), 40–48.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Field, N. P. (2016). Intergenerational transmission of trauma stemming from the Khmer Rouge Regime: an attachment perspective. In B. Van Schaack & D. Reicherter (Eds.), Cambodia’s hidden scars: trauma psychology and the extraordinary chambers in the courts of Cambodia (2nd ed., pp. 100–119). Cambodia: Documentation Center of Cambodia.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Frimpong-Manso, K. (2014). From walls to homes: child care reform and deinstitutionalisation in Ghana. International Journal of Social Welfare, 23(4), 402–409.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Fronek, P., & Cuthbert, D. (2012). The future of inter-country adoption: a paradigm shift for this century. International Journal of Social Welfare, 21(2), 215–224.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Goodno, N. (2015). The Hague: an endless balancing act of preventing intercountry adoption abuses and finding permanent homes for orphans. In R. L. Ballard, N. Goodno, R. Cochran, & J. Millbrandt (Eds.), The intercountry adoption debate: dialogues across disciplines (pp. 207–238). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Greenwell, F. (2006). The impact of child welfare reform on child abandonment and deinstitutionalization, Romania 1990–2000. Annales de Démographie Historique, 111(1), 133–157, 1.

  8. Hamilton, C., Apland, K., Yarrow, E., Mackin, A., Tem, S., & Keo, P. (2018). Promoting and protecting the rights of children: a formative evaluation of UNCEF’s Child Protection Program in Cambodia. Final report - volume 1. August 2017–September 2018. Cambodia: UNICEF Retrieved 18 November 2018 from https://www.unicef.org/cambodia/2018-09-28-Formative-Evaluation-Child-Protection-Volume-I.pdf

  9. Hague Conference on International Law (HCCH). (2018). Country profile. 1993 Hague intercountry adoption convention. State of origin. Cambodia. Retrieved on 20 November 2018 from https://assets.hcch.net/docs/e6baabc2-64af-4bc5-84b7-7d04adf93895.pdf

  10. Huseynli, A. (2018). Implementation of deinstitutionalization of child care institutions in post-soviet countries: the case of Azerbaijan. Child Abuse & Neglect, 76(Supplement C), 160–172.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Inter-Agency Group on Children’s Reintegration. (2016). Guidelines for children's reintegration. https://www.familyforeverychild.org/report/guidelines-childrens-reintegration/. Accessed 11 November 2017.

  12. Islam, A., Ouch, C., Smyth, R., Smyth, R., & Wang, L. (2017). The intergenerational effect of Cambodia’s genocide on children’s education and health. Population and Development Review, 43(2), 331–353.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Ismayilova, L., Ssewamala, F., & Huseynli, A. (2014). Reforming child institutional care in the post-Soviet bloc: the potential role of family-based empowerment strategies. Children and Youth Services Review, 47(2), 136–148.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. James, S. L., Roby, J. L., Powell, L. J., Teuscher, B. A., Hamstead, K. L., & Shafer, K. (2017). Does family reunification from residential care facilities serve children’s best interest? A propensity-score matching approach in Ghana. Children and Youth Services Review, 83(Supplement C), 232–241.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Januario, K., Hembling, J., Kline, A. R., & Roby, J. (2016). Factors related to the placement into and reintegration of children from Catholic-affiliated residential care facilities in Zambia. Baltimore, MD. Retrieved from https://www.crs.org/sites/default/files/tools-research/placement-and-reintegration-of-children_0.pdf. Accessed 22 September 2018.

  16. Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO). (2018). Cambodia’s stolen children: fraud and corruption. Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights. http://www.licadho-cambodia.org/reports.php?perm=226. Accessed 30 March 2018.

  17. Milligan, I. (2016). Alternative child care and deinstitutionalisation: a case study of Uganda. Brussels. https://pure.strath.ac.uk/portal/en/publications/alternative-child-care-and-deinstitutionalisation(98321f23-34c3-4928-9bb5-148a425ba605).html. Accessed 3 April 2018.

  18. Ministry of Planning. (2015). Migration and left-behind households in rural areas in Cambodia. http://cambodia.unfpa.org/en/publications/migration-and-left-behind-households-rural-areas-cambodia. Accessed 4 April 2018.

  19. Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY). (2006). Policy on alternative care for children. Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Ministry of Social Affairs Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation of Cambodia, Kingdom of Cambodia. http://www.orphanages.no/uploads/resources/files/505/ALT006_Policy_on_Alternative_Care_for_Children-Eng.pdf. Accessed 20 May 2018. Accessed 22 September 2018.

  20. MoSVY. (2016). Preliminary data, compilation and findings. Mapping of residential care institutions. Ministry of Social Affairs Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation of Cambodia: Cambodia. http://bettercarenetwork.org/library/the-continuum-of-care/residential-care/cambodia-preliminary-data-compilation-and-findings-mapping-of-residential-care-institutions. Accessed 28 February 2018.

  21. MoSVY. (2017a). Action plan for improving childcare: with the target of safely returning 30 percent of children in residential care to their families 2016–2018. Phnom Penh.

  22. MoSVY. (2017b). Mapping of residential care facilities in the capital and 24 provinces of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Ministry of Social Affairs Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation of Cambodia: Cambodia. https://www.unicef.org/cambodia/results_for_children_26320.html. Accessed 4 April 2018.

  23. National Bank of Cambodia. (2017). Annual report. Retrieved from https://www.nbc.org.kh/download_files/publication/annual_rep_eng/AnReport2017ENG.pdf. Accessed 22 September 2018.

  24. Reimer, J.K., Langeler, E., Sophia, S., et al. (2007) The road home: toward a model of ‘reintegration’ and considerations for alternative care for children trafficked for sexual exploitation in Cambodia. Hagar/World Vision Cambodia. http://hagarinternational.org/international/files/The-Road-Home.pdf. Accessed 12 December 2017.

  25. Rotabi, K. S., & Bromfield, N. F. (2017). From intercountry adoption to global surrogacy: A human rights history and new fertility frontiers. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

  26. Severinsson, A. N. (2018). End-line performance evaluation: deinstitutionalization of orphans and vulnerable children in Uganda (DOVCU). https://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PA00T9NV.pdf. Accessed 22 September 2018.

  27. Stark, L., Rubenstein, B. L., Pak, K., & Kosal, S. (2017). National estimation of children in residential care institutions in Cambodia: a modelling study. BMJ Open, 7(1), e013888. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2016-013888.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Ucembe, S. (2016). Institutional care for children in Kenya. In T. Islam & L. Fulcher (Eds.), Global perspectives (pp. 186–336). South Africa: CYC-Net Press.

  29. United Nations. (1989) Convention on the rights of the child. http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CRC.aspx. Accessed 4 April 2018.

  30. United Nations. (2009). Guidelines for the alternative care of children. Retrieved 25 April 2018 from https://www.unicef.org/protection/alternative_care_Guidelines-English.pdf.

  31. van Doore, K. E. (2016). Paper orphans: exploring child trafficking for the purpose of orphanages. International Journal of Children’s Rights, 24(2), 378–407.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Walakira, E., Ochen, E., Bukuluki, p., & Allan, S. (2014). Residential care for abandoned children and their integration into a family-based care setting in Uganda: lessons for policy and programming. Infant Mental Health Journal, 35(4), 144–115.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. World Bank. (2017). Cambodia economic update: staying competitive through improving productivity. http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/780641494510994888/pdf/114938-PUBLIC-may-16-8pm-Cambodia-Economic-report-v2-s.pdf . Accessed 22 September 2018.

Download references

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge the dedication of those workers from Save the Children Cambodia who were tragically killed during the writing of this paper. They worked tirelessly with Cambodian children and their families and will be remembered.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Patricia Fronek.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Fronek, P., Common, R., Rotabi, K.S. et al. Identifying and Addressing Risk in the Implementation of Alternative Care Policies in Cambodia. J. Hum. Rights Soc. Work 4, 140–144 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41134-018-0087-y

Download citation

Keywords

  • Child rights
  • Reintegration
  • Alternative care
  • Cambodia