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Moving Forward: Implementing the 'Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children'

Strategy of care for vulnerable children in foster care, Togo

Focus 11: Developing family-based alternative care settings

Institutional care has long been the favoured option for the protection of vulnerable children in Togo, where there are more than 250 private institutions. A number of problems result from this, including lack of access to protection and risk of exploitation, violence and abuse.  The Togolese government has developed, in collaboration with partners UNICEF, Plan Togo and Terre des Hommes, the strategy of care for vulnerable children in foster care. The objective is to improve the protection and well-being of children without parental care. In order to implement this strategy in family-based settings, a number of activities were conducted including: awareness raising to recruit foster carers, training for potential foster families, accreditation of host families, placement within foster families and monitoring of children. The government, with support from UNICEF, strengthened its national system of protection of vulnerable children by creating a centralised system for the referral of children without parental care, an orientation centre providing emergency shelter and monitoring of all children without parental care or at risk; and an interdisciplinary team providing support (counselling, rehabilitation and reintegration) for children within foster families.

The application of this strategy has decreased the number of vulnerable children in institutions, established a national mechanism for collecting information on vulnerable children and supported the development of a welfare system for children in alternative care.  Currently, the Government is documenting the strategy, extending it to all communities including rural areas, and strengthening members of the specialised child protection committees at village level so they can effectively monitor children in foster care.

For more information see:  Azambo-Aquiteme, A. (2012, May), Mobilization around the Strengthening of Family and alternative care conference, Senegal: ‘Presentation: Guidelines on Alternative Care’ (In French). ‘Lignes Directrices sur la Prise en Charge Alternative. Impact sur la prise en charge des enfants privés de protection parentale au Togo.

International Social Service, Oak Foundation, SOS Children's Villages International, unicef, ATD Fourth World, Better Care Network, Family for every child, ngo group for the crc, PEPFAR, RELAF, Save the Children, USAID