Angkor Hospital for Children

Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC) is an independent, non-profit paediatric healthcare organisation with a mission of improving healthcare for all Cambodian children. AHC has delivered compassionate, holistic care to children from across the country for 20 years. Today, AHC has established itself as a centre of excellence through provision of high-quality, specialist services not found elsewhere in Cambodia; a commitment to education and capacity-building that extends beyond its walls; and its embodiment of exemplary governance and accountability. Through data, research, and policy-setting, AHC is making a wider impact by strengthening healthcare systems and influencing child health locally, regionally and internationally.

The Social Work Unit at AHC is the first of its kind in Cambodia. Developed in 2010, it is now a leader in medical social work care in the country, providing unparalleled psychological and child protection support to patient families.

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Where they operate

Organization Size

Size of the organization
Large (50 employees and sub-contractors or more)

Headquarters Location


Organization Type


Main Areas of Work

What They Do


The Social Work Unit at AHC plays a critical role across all departments, protecting children vulnerable to abuse and abandonment, and helping patients and families cope with the psychological stress of hospitalisation. The unit also implements child protection measures and provides much needed counselling support to patients and caregivers alongside financial and material assistance as part of AHC’s holistic approach to caring for the whole child, not just the illness they present with.

AHC’s Social Work Unit has four key functions:

  1. Psychological SupportAHC provides psychological support within the hospital for children and families, along with follow-up care. Psychological support includes emotional counselling and play therapy – storytelling, art classes, and playtime to both provide education to patients and families and distraction for children undergoing medical procedures. Staff self-care is another psychological support service the social work team provides at AHC. AHC refers patients and families to trained psychologists when necessary.
  2. Child ProtectionAHC’s Social Work Unit collaborates closely with government departments and NGOs to build common resources and share knowledge and skills around child protection policies and services. AHC works with both patients and parents on child protection cases, including neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse and mental abuse towards children. Where possible, AHC supports familial settings as an alternative to institutional care as part of its Child Abandonment Prevention and Intervention Programme.
  3. Financial SupportAHC’s Social Work Unit provides financial support to families to help cover the cost of food, accommodation, transport, death, and other health expenses. A financial assessment is undertaken to see what capacity the family has to support themselves and their children.
  4. Social ServicesAHC’s Social Work Unit provides a framework and support to families for external care. This includes legal, disability, psychology, and caretaker support. AHC works closely with partner agencies and organizations who help with these social services. One such example is the Foster Care Program, run in partnership with Kaliyan Mith (Friends International). This program is designed to find appropriate and safe families for children, ensuring children are kept out of orphanages and away from the issues they possess.

Other Social Work Programs/Projects:

Child Abandonment Prevention & Intervention Program. Considered a world leader in child protection, AHC’s Social Work unit works with families or caregivers who are at risk of abandoning their child at AHC or elsewhere; using patience and counselling to help families find long-term solutions to their problems of maintaining care of their child.

Medical Social Work Manual. Currently in development. The Medical Social Work Manual will outline all competencies, skills, and knowledge required to operate a successful medical social work program. This is the first of its kind in Cambodia, designed to be used throughout the country and wider region to train social workers.

UNICEF Clinical Handbook. AHC has worked in partnership with UNICEF to develop an instructional resource for addressing sexual and physical abuse towards children.

Angkor Hospital for Children is a member of Family Care First.