When a good heart is not enough: Summary of a research project "A Comparative Analysis between the Practice of Chiang Mai Children's Homes and the United Nations Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children"

CRC Coalition Thailand

This summary report presents the findings of a study comparing practices within residential children's homes in the Thai province of Chiang Mai with the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children. During the study, it was found that the practices of registered private children's homes both corresponded to and contradicted the United Nations' Guidelines for Alternative Care. The guidelines were launched in 2009, however the children's homes in this study still lack understanding of its content. The practices which follow the guidelines, such as encouraging children to visit home during their school break, were only coincidental practices which do not reflect the true intention of the Guidelines for Alternative Care. While the practices which directly contradicted the Guidelines, such as the lack of gatekeeping processes and regular reviews of decisions determining if children should continue living in alternative care or start the family reintegration process, were likely the result of unfamiliarity with the guidelines as well as the lack of skill to implement them. The report outlines a set of recommendations for government, children's homes, faith-based organizations, and volunteers.