BICON 2021 was an opportunity for government and intergovernmental representatives, civil society organisations, practitioners, academics and most importantly care experienced young people to come together and discuss the most pressing issues regarding children’s care in Asia. With a focus on implementation, practitioners shared examples of innovation, highlighted promising practices, and showcased local solutions to challenges faced by countries across Asia. Key themes of the presentations and discussions included:
Tackling unnecessary separation, which included a focus on family strengthening, disability inclusion, and prevention of separation measures for children on the move and in emergency contexts.
Family-based alternative care, which included an examination of the need for and role of specialized foster care for children with disabilities and complex support needs, the central role of informal kinship care in ensuring family-based care, and the importance of developing and expanding community-based foster care services.
Quality care, which included a focus on what quality care looks like, its characteristics, and what it means and requires for governments and service providers to ensure all forms of care meet the characteristics of quality care.
Children with disabilities, which included a focus on tackling social attitudes and discrimination, inclusive approaches to care reform and deinstitutionalization and ensuring children with disabilities can reclaim their right to be part of family and community.
Social service workforce development, which took stock of trends in social welfare workforces across Asia, and examined community and cultural approaches to child protection and safeguarding, the role of community leaders and local level social service personnel in supporting children, and considerations for the social services workforce in supporting aftercare.
Perspectives of care experienced young people, which unpacked the challenges faced by young people leaving care in regions across Asia, including during the pandemic, the role of Care Leaver Networks, and the critical importance of addressing mental health issues faced by care experienced young people and ensuring adequate access to mental health services.
Global dimensions, which brought together the perspectives of youth researchers involved in the 2021 Day of General Discussion and global child protection specialists, and focused on listening to the voices of children and young people and working with them to implement recommendations and progress reforms.
The final closing session was an opportunity to reflect on all the discussions that had transpired over the course of the 2021 BICON, and to turn to the future and consider the next steps and implications for country-level systems reforms, building regional momentum, and maintaining an ongoing global discussion.