Identifying and Addressing Risk in the Implementation of Alternative Care Policies in Cambodia

Abstract

Propelled by a commitment to the rights of children, Cambodia is moving forward with family-based alternative care initiatives that build on existing efforts to strengthen the child protection system. This short human rights in action article takes a critical approach to the translation of policy to practice and highlights risks involved with haste, outcomes measured in numbers and unrealistic timeframes, and rapidly transforming practice with nascent investment in a country’s capacity to assess and respond to the real needs of children and families within their communities. The importance of continuing collaboration between government and civil society, building workforce capacity and gatekeeping initiatives is discussed as essential to address challenges while strengthening responses to vulnerable children and families. We conclude that less haste and more capacity building are important to mitigate against risk and make eight recommendations supported by collaborations between government and civil society to strengthen the system.