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Caring for Children Moving Alone: Protecting Unaccompanied and Separated Children

Series of Educational Documentary films

A series of documentary educational films about the care and protection of unaccompanied and separated refugee and migrant children who are moving across and between countries. Providing an understanding of the risks and vulnerabilities these children face, informing the improvement of policy, practice and delivery of support services that uphold children’s rights and meet their best interests.

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Ferouz, is a young Eritrean refugee who was reunified with her uncle. The family are supported through a kinship care programme managed by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). The family live in Hitsats camp in the district of Shire, Northern Ethiopia. The social worker has a responsibility to regularly review the wellbeing and welfare of Ferouz. During the visit, the social worker discovers Ferouz has not yet started school. This is because of health and other concerns related to Ferouz’s previous experiences. The social worker is able to offer reassurance and provide ways to support Ferouz .

There are many children who are safe and happy in kinship placements. However, it is necessary to pay attention to possible risks. We should not automatically assume that, because children are with family members, they are not being exploited or abused.

This is why social workers should regularly monitor and review the situation of each child carefully. This is also why there should be careful recruitment and training of social workers – case workers – to take on this significant role of supporting and monitoring the situation of children in alternative care – including those in kinship care.

Social workers in Hitsats camp are assigned approximately twenty five families – a combination of foster carers and kinship carers – to support and monitor. They visit each family on a regular basis – at least three times a week. When a social worker visits a kinship family, they review all aspects of the welfare, protection and social and emotional well-being of the child being cared for. The social worker will discuss any concerns, and help the child and the family access a range of services in the camp being delivered in partnership between the Government of Ethiopia, UN agencies and NGOs.