The LPI as an Effective Ground-level Strategy for the Deinstitutionalisation and Quality Alternative Care of Children

G. A. Wasana Sudesh - Institutionalised Children Explorations and Beyond


Deinstitutionalisation and quality alternative care is a topic that is widely discussed in search of policies, strategies and good practices. This issue affects all children directly or indirectly. It is very pertinent to the South Asia region. Children who are in institutional care require deinstitutionalisation process that involves both prevention and a range of alternative care options that are community-based, family-based or family-like care. The Local Process Initiative (LPI), which was implemented in the Devinuwara Divisional Secretariat Division (DSD) in the Matara District of Sri Lanka, is an effective strategy that demonstrates deinstitutionalisation and quality alternative care. SOS Children’s Villages of Sri Lanka in seven locations including Devinuwara DSD since 2017 have carried out the LPI process successfully. It has generated positive outcomes especially in terms of strengthening the ground-level state mechanism for deinstitutionalisation and alternative care for children. The divisional secretary is the lead person in the ‘locational circle’ formed in this process, which composes of a range of field-level government officers involved in childcare and community development as they are the first point of contact for issues related to children and families. The government officers are considered the ‘change agents’, and their empowerment is at the centre of the LPI strategy and its success.

From the LPI process in the Devinuwara DSD, it is expected to develop a model to avoid family separation. In here, it is expected to develop a ground-level deinstitutionalisation and a quality alternative care strategy which incorporate solutions from biological, psychological and sociological perspectives to build confidence of stakeholders on deinstitutionalisation and quality alternative care for children, and document evidence including success stories in order to support deinstitutionalisation and quality alternative care of children. This article offers an LPI process in the Devinuwara DSD as an effective strategy for the deinstitutionalisation and quality alternative care of children in South Asia.