19 January 2017

New report compares child care systems globally

A new report launched today (Thursday 19 January) examines the circumstances of children and families in relation to the care systems across Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Towards the Right Care for Children is the first study of its kind, and is the result of the European Commission project in partnership with the SOS Children’s Villages International. The research was carried out by CELCIS (the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children) at the University of Strathclyde.

Bringing together findings from a survey of three continents and case studies in Chile, Ecuador, Indonesia, Nepal, Nigeria and Uganda, this report proposes ways to understand, assess and improve alternative care systems in developing and middle-income countries. 

The research findings will help to influence the EU’s global strategy to improve systems of care for children.

Some key findings from the report include:

  • informal care arrangements are by far the most frequent care method in the countries researched
  • residential care is far more frequent than formal family-based settings
  • national laws, standards and policies in place are not the main challenge: it is their implementation and enforcement that are failing
  • there is low cultural acceptance of caring for a stranger’s child (i.e. foster care) especially in Africa and Asia
  • care is frequently provided for by the non-State sector (e.g. residential facilities that are funded by private donors)
  • reform of the care system relies on the State having both the ability and will to make change
  • how care is financed, and from where, needs to be factored into any plans to reform a care system.

Nigel Cantwell, co-author on the report, comments: “It is a common assumption that national laws, standards and policies are the main challenge in the context of alternative childcare systems. Our research shows this not to be the case. It is their implementation and enforcement that are failing. Towards a solution, there needs to be a full understanding of each country’s context before change can be implemented appropriately in a significant way.”

Chrissie Gale, International Lead at CELCIS and co-author on the report, comments: “The voices of children and the need to listen to them have been a crucial aspect of this report. We cannot underestimate just how powerful it is to hear directly from them as to their experience of the care system. This, in turn, can help shape future thinking about how care systems are structured and delivered, all with the interest of children at its centre.”

The full report is available here.


Notes to Editors

Mike Findlay, CELCIS Communications Manager
T: 0141 444 8512
E: mike.findlay@strath.ac.uk

CELCIS, based at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, is committed to making positive and lasting improvements in the wellbeing of Scotland’s children living in and on the edges of care. Taking a multi-agency, collaborative approach towards making lasting change, CELCIS works alongside leaders, managers and practitioners to break down barriers and forge new paths in order to change thinking and ways of working with everyone whose work touches the lives of vulnerable children and families.

Nigel Cantwell is an independent international consultant on child protection. He has worked on the protection of children's rights in alternative care and adoption for the past 25 years at the international level, for DCI, UNICEF, ISS, SOS Children's Villages International, Council of Europe and other partners. This work has involved drafting and advising on international and national legal texts, field assessments, serving as expert in international meetings, lecturing and shaping policy.