Retrak: Standard Operating Procedures -€“ Family Reintegration

This excellent practical manual by Retrak details its standard operating procedures (SOPs) for family reintegration. Retrak's aim is to successfully return street children to safe homes in families and communities, where each child feels a sense of belonging through a secure attachment to caring adults. It bases its work and approach on the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child and the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children and the SOPs highlight in concrete ways how the principles contained in the Alternative Care Guidelines relate to each step and procedure. The SOPs cover the guiding principles of family reintegration, key steps, tools, and monitoring and evaluation procedures, as well as variations on the key steps of family reintegration for working with children and families in varying circumstances. 

The SOPs emphasize that reintegration programs must be based on the guiding principles that family reintegration is the first priority, interventions should be child-centered and based on an individual determination of the child’s best interest, it is essential to (re)build positive attachments between children and their families, and to involve the wider community to ensure greater support for children and their families. The importance of follow up and care giver support is also underlined. The key steps and decisions involved in enabling a child and family to be reintegrated include: (1) child assessment and preparation, (2) family contact and assessment, (3) placement, (4) follow-up and family support, and (5) phase out, as well as a step for removing a child from the care of his or her family should it become necessary. The timeframe and procedures for the key steps are specific to each child and recognize that where it is determined that family reintegration is not viable, other appropriate alternative care options should be sought, such as foster care. In order to assist social workers in this decision-making process.

Retrak has developed a toolkit to accompany these SOPs. This toolkit comprises a series of forms which each begin with a clear aim and end with a decision about future care. They include key questions to be asked, factors to be considered and opportunities to involve children and care-givers. A training curricula for social workers and other staff using the SOPs is also available from Retrak for a fee.

For more information about the toolkit and training curricula, please contact: mailbox@retrak.org