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An example of foster care for unaccompanied and separated children

Video showing successful examples of foster care settings for unaccompanied and separated children on the move.

In this video you will see an example of a foster care programme that has been developed in the context of refugee camps in the district of Shire in Northern Ethiopia. These camps are home to refugees from Eritrea. There are significant numbers of unaccompanied and separated children crossing the border from Eritrea into Ethiopia on a regular basis. The programmes in the camps are a result of partnerships between the Government of Ethiopia’s department of Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) and UN and NGOs. These agencies include the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), UNICEF, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and Innovative Humanitarian Solutions (IHS).

In the video we hear from Richelle Haines, Child Protection Officer for UNHCR in Ethiopia. Richelle tells us about some of the steps that were taken to develop foster care in the refugee camps. One of the important topics we hear about is that of ensuring cultural and contextual applicability of foster care. It reminds us of how we should be mindful of any cultural setting and how this can effect the acceptance of foster care. Richelle also explains possible challenges and some ways to overcome them.

We then hear from Adiam Tekle, Protection Assistant, UNHCR Field Office, Hitsats refugee camp. Adiam tells us how the foster care programme functions in Hitsats camp, including the role of the child welfare committee (CFW). The CFW is made up of members of the refugee community and plays an important role raising awareness and mobilising support for the foster programme. Adiam explains how different agencies, including the department of Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA), work together with the Refugee Community Committee (RCC), UNHCR and NGOs. She also explains how foster carers are selected. Yibeyin Hagos, Senior Child Protection for Innovative Humanitarian Solutions also explains the criteria used during the selection process of foster carers in Shimelba refugee camp. During the video, you will see different unaccompanied children and their foster carers who are living in the camps.

We would like to thank the UNHCR office in Shire for helping to facilitate the filming in the camps.

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Caring for Children Moving Alone: Protecting Unaccompanied and Separated Children

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