In 2019, the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services (MCDSS) pioneered a three-year multi stakeholder pilot to reintegrate 200 children from Child Care Facilities (CCFs) in Lusaka district to their families and communities. The Children in Families (CIF) collective effort is designed to clarify and refine systematic child reintegration processes formerly addressed in isolation and without clear coordination. The CIF Plus (CIF+) pilot is an opportunity to showcase the collective impact that can be achieved when government provides program direction in collaboration with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to drive efforts aimed at reintegration of children with their families and communities.
Led by the MCDSS, the CIF working group which includes the Alliance for Children Everywhere Zambia (ACEZ), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Zambia Association of Sisterhoods (ZAS), Catholic Medical Missions Board (CMMB), Save the Children International (SCI), and UNICEF provides critical services for the reintegration of children into families and communities within the broader national continuum of care for children.
From inception, the CIF+ pilot has largely been an iterative process. In the second year of implementation, the pilot delved more deeply into service provision, strategic planning, and adapting the pilot design and implementation to meet the evolving needs of children and families particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CIF+ pilot continues to provide valuable information for systems strengthening and capacity building for both MCDSS and non-government stakeholders.
Building on the CIF+ Learning Brief Volume 1, Volume 2 draws from CIF+ partner programming experience, achievements and lessons learned. This document outlines lessons for stakeholders that are interested in child reintegration efforts and highlights examples of the pilot as it works to support children and families in Zambia.