Household Economic Strengthening in Support of Prevention of Family-Child Separation and Children’s Reintegration in Family Care
This paper summarizes learning related to prevention of family-child separation, reintegration of children in family care, and economic interventions that might support these aims. It was prepared to inform the focus and development of a project that aims to use rigorous research to develop the evidence base related to the ways in which household-level economic strengthening interventions in low- and middle-income countries can help prevent the separation of children from their families and assist in reintegrating separated children in family care. It is shared as an accessible information resource that can help child protection and economic strengthening practitioners to envision and design programming together. The paper draws on recent literature reviews, studies, program reports, resource documents and other gray literature to briefly describe the domain of work called economic strengthening (ES) or household economic strengthening (HES), provide an overview of children outside of family care and highlight international policy frameworks and guidance relevant to these children. It then addresses the following questions: • What causes family-child separation? • What do prevention of family-child separation and reintegration of children in family care programs look like and what economic interventions do they include? • What is the state of evidence about HES and other economic interventions in support of preventing separation and reintegrating children in family care? • What can programs aimed at preventing separation and reintegrating children in family care learn from programs that involve economic activities to improve outcomes for vulnerable children? This paper then reviews findings, makes recommendations, and proposes a number of questions for further research. A substantial proportion of the existing studies and gray literature that touch on the topic of children outside of family care or care of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) focuses on children affected by HIV/AIDS. This paper takes a broader view of children outside of family care and considers programming addressing other reasons for family-child separation, although it draws on literature related to the HIV/AIDS-affected child population. This paper was produced by the USAID-funded ASPIRES project.