International research has established that institutions (children's homes / orphanages / child residential centres) are not in the best interests of the child - they are in fact harmful to children and a wholly inadequate system of caring for children.
[“I would rather be a child laborer who breaks rocks than live in a children’s home again” – Janaki (aged 13, Surkhet, Nepal).]
From a child protection perspective, alternative forms of care must be found for children living in institutions. This is a key activity of the process known as deinstitutionalisation and is the focus of HFHK's Alternative Care Development program.
In its Alternative Care Development program HFHK develops long term care plans, including individual assessments for each child, which leads to sourcing the most appropriate permanent alternative care arrangement in the community. This process may include tracing and reintegrating with original family, foster care, small group homes or supported independent living.
HFHK has now closed its two children's residential centres in Pokhara, which were part of this progam, New Ray of Life, Pokhara and SAHARA, Pokhara.
Before being assisted by HFHK, both of these centres were previously considered to be amongst the worst-run in Pokhara. HFHK brought both centres up to appropriate standards of care prior to commencing the Alternative Care Development program.
As a result of the closure of these two centres, 21 children have now been re-integrated with their families, 6 children are living independently and a further 25 children are in five foster family homes.
HFHK also has a Memorandum of Understanding (signed in May 2009) with the Nepal Government to research and pilot deinstitutionalisation as a foundation for the development and implementation of new policy and legislation for child protection and formal care arrangements.
HFHK's long-term aim is to continue to work with the Nepal Government and with other children's centres to support them in deinstitutionalising their centres and in moving the children out of their centres and into appropriate alternative care.
|New Ray of Life,
| SAHARA, Pokhara|