Emergency Care Arrangements

Child Protection Working Group Guiding Principles: Unaccompanied and Separated Children Following the Haiti Earthquake January 2010

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The Child Protection Working Group released Guiding Principles for Unaccompanied and Separated Children in Haiti. 
Even during emergencies, all children have a right to a family and families have a right to care for their children.  Unaccompanied and separated children should be provided with services aimed at reuniting them with their parents or customary care-givers as quickly as possible.   Interim care should be consistent with the aim of family reunification, and should ensure children’s protection and well-being.

Experience has shown that most separated children have parents or other family members willing and able to care for them.  Long-term care arrangements, including adoption, should therefore not be made during the emergency phase.

In light of these assertion, the Child Protection Working Group issues guiding principles for unaccompanied and separated children following the recent Haiti earthquake.  The principles address key messages and considerations for preventing separation; ensuring identification, tracing and family reunification is prioritized; and facilitating interim care, alternative care and adoption where necessary.   

 Global Protection Cluster Group

In terms of UNICEF and NGO coordination on the ground, the global Protection Cluster Working Group (PCWG) is the main forum at the global level for the overall coordination of protection activities in humanitarian action. Established in 2005 as part of the humanitarian reform process, the PCWG includes UN human rights, humanitarian and development agencies as well as non-governmental and other international organizations active in protection.

The work of the PCWG is chaired by UNHCR, which is the lead agency for protection at the global level. In light of their specific expertise, certain agencies have agreed to serve as focal point agencies for certain areas of responsibility within the PCWG.  There is a specific working group on Child Protection lead by UNICEF. 

 The role of the PCWG is to lead standard- and policy setting relating to protection, support the development of strengthened protection capacity, provide operational advice and support when requested by protection working groups at the country level, and ensure that protection is mainstreamed and integrated in other clusters and sectors.   The PCWG includes the Child Protection Working Group. 

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