Guidelines to Help Children Return Home

Download Guidelines to Help Children Return Home (Family Reintegration SOPs). To receive the SOPs Training Curriculum from Retrak and any further information on the SOPs Training Curriculum please email

Retrak’s vision is a world where no child is forced to live on the street. We believe that a caring family is the best place for a child to grow and develop. We are committed to providing street children with the opportunity to return to their biological families if possible and safe to do so. Family Reintegration is one of our first priorities when providing alternative care for children and helping them find a life away from the streets.

Retrak Family Reintegration SOPs May 13 (P)Based on our experience, and building on the foundation of the UN Guidelines for alternative care of children, child rights and attachment theory, Retrak has developed a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Family Reintegration. The aim of these SOPs is to capture the way Retrak works in an easy reference document, useful to Retrak’s projects and partners, to ensure all children, families and communities receive the same quality standard of care. We also hope that the SOPs can be used to inform and guide the wider street child practitioner community and improve the quality of care available to all street children. Though, we recognise that we are learning too and they are not perfect guidelines, rather an attempt to document what we do in hope that we can provide children with the best possible standard of care: consistently.

Retrak has also developed a training curriculum – based on the Reintegration SOPs – for social workers and other staff involved in family reintegration. The workshop is designed to be participatory and build on the local knowledge and experience of participants working with children. Training methods create opportunities for staff to reflect on case studies, based on real stories, of children undergoing the reintegration process. Small group work ensures opportunity for reflection and discussion on the principles and guidelines within these SOPs.

Despite a perception that it is difficult to reintegrate street children, over the past decade, Retrak has reintegrated more than 1,200 children with their families. Between 2009 and 2011 Retrak enabled more than 600 children to be reintegrated with their families and provided training and support to more than 2,600 care-givers. This benefited an additional 4,400 children in their care.

Retrak piloted this training curriculum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2012 and has since run workshops in Kampala, Uganda and Lubumbashi, DR Congo and in Mozambique. Feedback from participants in these workshops has been very positive and led to changes to bring implementation more in line with the UN guidelines on alternative care.

Some field reviews are below:

• It has helped us to link our values and principles to our daily work, it’s been very enriching – participant in Kampala

• The best thing for me was learning on the principles and the cycles of attachment both positive and negative – participant in Lumbumbashi

• The methods that you have used have meant our participation was much easier, much more than a question and answer method – participant in Lumbumbashi

• The case studies are useful because they help you break through the emotional wall so that the situations become real – participant in Addis Ababa

• Retrak alone cannot do it, the community on the ground can give so much support – participant in Kampala

• Following the SOPs is very vital because you do not have to scratch your head for answers – participant in Addis Ababa

• The workshop has led to changes in our organisation, previously it was very costly, now a child has a phase out plan and we emphasise more on the biological parents at the first call – participant in Kampala

Further information on this training workshop and Retrak’s availability to offer this training curriculum to organisations can be obtained from Retrak here:

You can download the Family Reintegration SOPs by visiting our Impact page here.