An inter-agency group, co-facilitated by Better Care Network and Save the Children, in consultation with a range of actors working on care reforms at national, regional, and global levels, has developed a free, web-based, interactive diagnostic and learning tool designed to enable national actors (governments, children’s service providers, NGOs, civil society, academics and others) to determine the extent to which their country has effectively implemented the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children and to identify the priorities for change still ahead.
The Tool is designed to help users gather information on children’s care in their country around four overarching themes:
- Addressing factors that may lead to the need for alternative care
- Discouraging the use of alternative care unless necessary
- Ensuring formal alternative care settings meet minimum standards
- Ensuring that formal alternative care settings meet the best interests of the individual child.
Through the Tool, users can enter, review, and analyse data on the care of children in their country and generate reports on that data. Both the tool and the country data can be accessed and updated regularly to enable continual measurement of progress.
The Steering Group for the initiative was composed of Better Care Network, Family for Every Child, Hope and Homes for Children, International Social Service (ISS), RELAF, Save the Children, SOS Children’s Villages International, UNICEF and Eurochild. The Centre for Excellence for Looked after Children in Scotland (CELCIS) was commissioned to develop and write the tool.
The Tool was launched at the IFCO Conference in Malta in November 2017. Planning is now underway to support implementation of the tool in a few select countries in order to gather learning and develop appropriate guidance and training for country level actors to implement the tool effectively in diverse contexts.