Children who have been trafficked, separated by conflict, who are living on the streets or/and in alternative care suffer devastating and long-term consequences. Their reintegration to a permanent home with their family is critical to their well-being. Different initiatives are currently being made to bring these children home.

Latest reports

Guidelines on Children’s Reintegration

The Guidelines are available in EnglishSpanishRussianFrenchPortuguese and Arabic.

Read a synopsis of the report here.

Leading aid and development agencies have come together for the first time to create new Guidelines on
 the Reintegration of Children. The Guidelines call for greater investment in reintegration, and advocate for it to 
be pursued as the primary response before other permanent care options are considered. They are intended to help governments, donors, NGOs, faith-based organisations and practitioners working in a broad range of circumstances to make the right choices for separated children. They set out the principles for effective reintegration and provide practical guidance and case studies to demonstrate how reintegration can and should operate. They can help organisations to design high quality programmes; train practitioners to respond more effectively to the needs of reintegrating children; and pursue national level systemic change in support of reintegration. The Guidelines are also a comprehensive starting point for more context specific policies and guidance.

Separated children are an increasingly urgent priority as all regions of the world grapple with unprecedented levels of conflict, disasters, mass migration, poverty and violence.

Reintegrating separated children back into their own families and communities is most often the best way to prevent and remedy the many challenges they face.

Reintegration is a sustained and complex process that must be handled carefully in order to be effective.

There are several key priorities in creating an environment that is fully supportive of reintegration. These include:

  • Creating national level guidance and policies on children’s reintegration that are in line with the UNCRC, and are guided by other relevant
    global policies and guidance, including the new Guidelines of the Reintegration of Children
  • Building a child welfare workforce with the necessary skills and attitudes to support children’s reintegration
  • Establishing a casework system that supports children and families through all stages of the reintegration process
  • Coordinating and collaboration with actors working in the child protection sector, and those working in other systems, including
    health, education and economic strengthening, and those supporting
    children with disabilities
  • Recognising and supporting the vital role played by communities in children’s reintegration
  • Working to address the root causes of initial and re-separation, such
    as poverty and violence
  • Developing strategies to address discrimination against children that have reintegrated
  • Evaluating reintegration programmes, and checking for and
    addressing gaps in coverage

Research on factors surrounding the family reintegration of street girls in Kinshasa, DRC

The search for long-term and durable solutions in the light of ‘multiple stigmatisations’

DRC has had a complex and troubled recent history, marked by entrenched poverty, years of conflict and a failed state struggling to provide basic needs for the most vulnerable groups in society. This has contributed to a weakening of the social fabric and the destruction of traditional community coping mechanisms that families relied upon This reality is particularly visible in the social disruption characterised by the growing number of street children in the country’s urban centres such as Kinshasa, where 44% of children with street connections are girls, an increasing trend according to the REJEER1. Girls are often victims of commercial sexual exploitation and violence at the hand of street peers, police officers and older men in the city who take advantage of them in exchange for money, or forms of “protection”.

This research looked at the factors affecting the family reintegration of girls in the Tshangu district, an operational zone of the local NGO OSEPER, a partner of War Child for a 3-year project, seeking to address the needs of street-connected girls, including family reintegration.

It is based on consultation with 40 key informants (service providers and child protection specialists in Kinshasa) and interviews with 79 families and girls (both living/working on the streets and those who are successfully reintegrated). It also included participatory consultation involving 52 girls formerly or currently living and working on the streets. Finally, a comparative literature review and a consultation process with child protection experts were undertaken at the global level to identify elements of promising practice in the reintegration of street-connected girls.

Disclaimer: This research was commissioned by War Child UK and Comic Relief and undertaken by Mathilde Guntzberger on behalf of Family for Every Child. Co-authors include Prof. Florentin Azia and Oasis Kodila. The contents are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of War Child, Comic Relief or Family for Every Child.

1 REJEER is the network of street children specialized organisations in Kinshasa.

VIEW the full report in English.