From a Whisper to a Shout: A Call to End Violence Against Children in Alternative Care

This report from SOS Children’s Villages and the University of Bedfordshire provides reviews and assessments of the implementation of the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children in 21 countries around the world. The report is aimed at enhancing knowledge around violence against children in alternative care (especially what makes children vulnerable and what puts them at risk) and providing policymakers and practitioners insight into the challenges of protecting children from violence as well as recommendations for change.

The report offers several key findings from an extensive literature review and assessment and recommendations based on those key findings. The report finds that children in alternative care “face multifaceted vulnerability and persistent social conditions that lead to violence” and that quality of care significantly impacts a child’s vulnerability to violence, with children who experience higher quality care being less likely to be at risk for violence. The report recommends that States: strengthen legislation on violence in alternative care, ensure that removal from the family is considered a last resort for children and that alternative care placement is only for the shortest possible duration, improve monitoring capacity, and coordinate alternative care provision with all other stakeholders. The report also recommends that alternative care providers: ensure specialist services for families and children experiencing violence, develop adequate reporting mechanisms, and ensure that children (and families) are able to participate in decisions regarding alternative care placement.