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Informal care

Informal care video by Jini Roby

In this video Chrissie Gale talks to, Jini Roby. Jini is an expert in topics related to global and national child welfare and child protection policy. Currently she is a Professor in the School of Social Work at Brigham Young University in the USA as well as undertaking international consultancy work. Amongst Jini’s areas of expertise are the topics of assessment and construction of national child protection systems, the continuum of care and gatekeeping and, social welfare workforce strengthening. Jini is the author of Children in Informal Alternative Care – a discussion paper disseminated globally by UNICEF.

Jini tells us more about informal care and how it is the most prevalent form of care across the world. She speaks about the advantages, and possible concerns, that may sometimes arise from informal care. Jini also tells us about some ways we might think about supporting the well-being of children in informal care.

We are reminded that informal care is described in the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children as:

‘Any private arrangement provided in a family environment, whereby the child is looked after on an ongoing or indefinite basis by relatives or friends (informal kinship care) or by others in their individual capacity, at the initiative of the child, his/her parents or other person without this arrangement having been ordered by an administrative or judicial authority or a duly accredited body’.
The Guidelines also advise:
‘Recognizing that, in most countries, the majority of children without parental care are looked after informally by relatives or others, States should seek to devise appropriate means, consistent with the present Guidelines, to ensure their welfare and protection while in such informal care arrangements, with due respect for cultural, economic, gender and religious differences and practices that do not conflict with the rights and best interests of the child.’
Furthermore, we should note:
‘With regard to informal care arrangements for the child, whether within the extended family, with friends or with other parties, States should, where appropriate, encourage such carers to notify the competent authorities accordingly so that they and the child may receive any necessary financial and other support that would promote the child’s welfare and protection. Where possible and appropriate, States should encourage and enable informal caregivers, with the consent of the child and parents concerned, to formalize the care arrangement after a suitable lapse of time, to the extent that the arrangement has proved to be in the best interests of the child to date and is expected to continue in the foreseeable future.’

For additional information about guidance on informal care contained within the Guidelines, also look at paragraphs 76 to 79.

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Getting Care Right for All Children: Implementing the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children

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