This paper presents an overview of learning related to the prevention of family-child separation, the reintegration of children into family care, and economic interventions that support both. The paper seeks to contribute to the evidence base related to the ways in which household-level economic strengthening interventions in low- and middle-income countries can help prevent the separation of children from their families and assist in reintegrating separated children into family care. It is designed to provide information which will help child protection and economic strengthening practitioners to envision and design programming together.
The paper draws on recent literature reviews, studies, program reports, resource documents and other gray literature to briefly define economic strengthening (ES) or household economic strengthening (HES) and describe the activities therein, as well as to describe the situation of children outside of family care globally and highlight international policy frameworks and guidance relevant to these children.
The paper presents findings, makes recommendations, and proposes a number of questions for further research. Recommendations outlined in the paper include: linking families with government-led social protection and local economic empowerment programs, holding emergency funds to help families reintegrating children or at very high risk of separation to cope with shocks, investigating sequenced HES approaches with realistic expectations, working on tools and approaches to capture separation risk and durability of reintegration, and hypothesizing and testing causal pathways related to HES interventions and drivers of family-child separation.