On 21-22 June 2017, the African Child Policy Forum and Better Care Network - with the support of Catholic Relief Services, Family for Every Child, Hope and Homes for Children and Save the Children - convened 40 leaders representing child rights bodies, regional economic communities, national governments and civil society in Nairobi, Kenya for the Africa Expert Consultation: Violence Against Children in All Care Settings. This report describes the details of the meeting.
In 2014, the New York Working Group on Children without Parental Care and the Special Representative for the Secretary General (SRSG) on Violence Against Children (VAC) collaborated to initiate a series of regional expert consultations on children’s protection from neglect, abuse and exploitation against children in all care settings. These consultations aim to provide a platform for regional experts, from governments and civil society, to exchange promising practices, lessons learned and to identify progress and challenges in the implementation of the recommendations of the UN Study on Violence Against Children (2006) and of the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children (2009). The first regional expert consultation on violence and care took place in the Latin American and Caribbean region in December 2014. The second one was held in Nairobi in June 2017 and was organized and hosted by the Better Care Network and the African Child Policy Forum, with support from Catholic Relief Services, Family for Every Child, Hope and Homes for Children and Save the Children. This report provides details of the two-day meeting.
The Violence Against Children in All Care Settings: Africa Expert Consultation harnessed the already growing momentum to ensure better care for children at risk of or requiring alternative care, including current regional and national initiatives to support the implementation of the Guidelines on Alternative Care in Africa. It also builds on VAC initiatives including the Global Partnership,1 VAC surveys in the region2 and ongoing care reform efforts within the African continent.3 It brought together 40 participants representing child rights bodies, regional economic communities, national governments and civil society with the aim of creating stronger, evidence based understanding of links between violence against children within all care settings but especially within alternative care. The Expert Consultation was designed to highlight information within the following three areas: 1) violence against children within the family, including as a push factor resulting in separation and subsequent placement in alternative care; 2) Violence against children within different forms of alternative care; and 3) Violence against children after they leave care. Several approaches to presenting the information were utilized in the Expert Consultation and presenters included leaders in regional and global child rights bodies, representatives of United Nations agencies, national governments, and civil society, including young adults who were raised in alternative care (i.e., careleavers). The Expert Consultation had two objectives:
- Engage the African Union (AU) and other regional intergovernmental and treaty bodies, national governments, civil society and other experts on violence against children and alternative care to formulate key regional recommendations targeting: the African Union, other regional bodies, national governments and other key actors involved in the elimination of violence against children and the implementation of the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children.
- Prompt the establishment of an effective Africa-focused and based working group to follow up with a concrete action plan in Africa to fully implement the recommendations of the UN Study on Violence against Children and the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children in relation to the prevention and elimination of violence, especially in care situations.