Submission to the UN Committee on Children’s Rights and Alternative Care
Children without parental care in Africa are among the most vulnerable and disregarded groups of children. Now is the time for governments to design, build and maintain sustainable child protection systems. So many children, most unaccounted for, are not living with their families, and have been placed in institutions and so called orphanages. Locally developed systems could see them living in communities and with their parents or even an extended member of their family. These children continue to be at risk of multiple violations, including abuse, neglect, trafficking, child labour, sexual exploitation and poor access to basic needs.
We trust that the Day of General Discussion on Children’s Rights and Alternative Care 2021 will act as a catalyst for significant action on care reform in Africa and globally.
Together with members from Transform Alliance Africa (TAA)- a growing collective of organisations, currently working across Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, and Uganda - we are proud to have made a submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Our recommendations to the UN Committee on Children’s Rights and Alternative Care
A moratorium on the registration and establishment of new institutions and better regulatory oversight of the current system
Governments should immediately stop the establishment and registration of new institutions and prevent unnecessary placements in institutions by enhancing responses to support vulnerable families and communities
Focus on prevention through a multisectoral, systems approach for holistic support
Governments should develop or enhance protection, social safety nets and welfare programmes to reach vulnerable and at-risk families to shield them from livelihood shocks that lead to separation.
Strengthen monitoring and oversight of child care and protection
Governments must invest time and appropriate resources in coordinating monitoring and oversight within communities, to prevent and respond to protection concerns such as child marriages, sexual abuse and exploitation, physical abuse and other forms of maltreatment that often push children into the streets or into alternative care.
Transform Africa’s child care and protection systems
Governments should embark on reforming care through a transition from institutions to family-based programmes. This must be done carefully, to ensure that the reintegration of children into families results in permanence.
Protect children and staff working in institutional settings during COVID-19
Governments should recognise and prioritise staff working in alternative care provision and children living in residential and institutional care for receiving the vaccine, given their high risk of becoming infected or spreading the virus.
Support for Young People Leaving Alternative Care
Governments should develop mentorship programmes for care leavers, to navigate life beyond care and be guided through life challenges.
Do not leave behind children with disabilities in care reform
Governments should enhance or develop inclusion policies that do not segregate children with disabilities from families and communities and condemn them to institutions.
Prioritising children below three years in care reform
As in other parts of the world, a moratorium on the placement of all children under 3 in institutions for children should be an objective in Africa.
Click below to download the submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child Day of General Discussion on Children’s Rights and Alternative Care 2021