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Retrak Report endorsed by UNICEF
Retrak report on deinstitutionalisation endorsed by UNICEF Ethiopia - click
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Retrak’s work on family reintegration and alternative care in Ethiopia has led to growing partnerships with several children’s care facilities in the capital city Addis Ababa. The government of Ethiopia, supported by UNICEF, is emphasising de-institutionalisation (the gradual closure of institutions as a means of caring for children) and the expansion of family-based alternative care (returning children home to their biological/kin family or foster care). The reason for this new approach is highlighted below and in detail in the Retrak report. The report has been endorsed by UNICEF Ethiopia:
This is indeed a very interesting and useful study and we wish to commend Retrak for its great efforts in conducting this study and for providing protection services to street children in Addis Ababa
As a result of the decision by the government to close childcare institutions Retrak undertook research into the needs of street children in institutional care to determine how best Retrak’s reintegration (helping children return home) procedures can be used in the process of de-institutionalisation in Ethiopia. De-institutionalisation is a very complex activity and needs to be carried out with the utmost care and concern for the children & families involved.
It is internationally recognised that the best environment for children to develop is in a caring family. Research revealing that long-term institutional care can be damaging to children has promoted an international move towards reducing the use of children’s home and finding alternatives, which allow children to benefit from care and protection of a loving family environment. This process is still relatively new in Africa, and only began formally in Ethiopia at the end of 2011. Therefore there is currently little documented evidence of progress and good practice in the closure of institutions, orphanages and care homes.
The conclusion of Retrak's research on the issue shows that it’s recently developed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on family reintegration are a very helpful resource in aiding and facilitating the de-institutionalisation process in Ethiopia. The recommendations, endorsed by UNICEF, encourage Retrak to strengthen the SOPs for use in institutional care and to develop an associated training curriculum to promote use in Ethiopia and more widely across Africa. Retrak is already working to achieve these goals and aims to have material ready for use in 2013.
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