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Child Protection and COVID-19: Case Study

While protective factors may reduce the likelihood of children being abused or neglected, risk factors that accumulate across different levels of the socio-ecological model are linked to the likelihood of violence, abuse and neglect. As we have seen, a combination of individual, relational, community and societal factors contribute to the risk of child abuse and neglect.

While protective factors may reduce the likelihood of children being abused or neglected, risk factors that accumulate across different levels of the socio-ecological model are linked to the likelihood of violence, abuse and neglect. As we have seen, a combination of individual, relational, community and societal factors contribute to the risk of child abuse and neglect.

You can find detailed guidance in CPMS, Pillar 3, Standard 14 on “Applying a socio-ecological approach to child protection programming.”

Please Read Mohammad’s Story!

Mohammad’s Story

Mohammad, an 8-year-old boy, is on the autistic spectrum. He lives in an internally displaced camp with his mother, father and two siblings in Syria. Mohammad’s parents are not literate. He has been challenged a lot in school and in his social life because of his condition. Many community members do not understand why he is struggling as his disability is not visible. Before COVID-19, he had found some stability in the temporary learning spaces, as the teacher always supported him by giving him extra hours to finish his lessons and understand the topics. However, after the disruption of school during COVID-19, the teacher was not able to provide the same support and Mohammad’s parents were worried that he would lose the progress made so far. Mohammad was also seeing a speech therapist at least twice a week and this was no longer possible as the country had entered a full lockdown.

Mohammad’s siblings are attending lessons through an online platform made available through the temporary learning spaces, but one mobile phone is not sufficient to cater to the schooling needs of all the children in the family as sometimes live sessions overlap. Mohammad is struggling to use the online system and to follow the sessions. Overall, Mohammad’s siblings are doing fine, but it is difficult to stay in confinement in a crowded camp and they would like to help their mother and father more. Both of them have attempted to support Mohammad in accessing online classes, but it is too difficult to help him on such a small screen. Their neighbor is a teacher who had helped Mohammad with his homework in the past.

Mohammad’s father is lucky to continue working but worries about his health as he is a cleaner at a local public health post. What would happen to his family should he get sick? Mohammad’s mother was selling sweets and she now has lost her source of income. She seems depressed: first the war; now the coronavirus pandemic. She misses meeting up with her sisters and a local group of women that she joined when they arrived at the camp. She often states that she cannot cope anymore and that she has no hope for the future.

The protection worker of the temporary learning space referred Mohammad to a local non-governmental organization, which in turn registered Mohammad in the case management system. Mohammad was supported through the Individual Protection Assistance program within the case management system to receive a tablet. The team has maintained all the precautionary measures during the whole period of registering Mohammad, through assessment and to the point he received the device in the center. Protection workers connected with Mohammad’s speech therapist to arrange some sessions at a distance at least until face-to-face meetings are allowed.

Your Task

Now that you have read through Mohammad’s story, please consider the following questions:

  • What risk factors did you identify in the case study?
  • What protective factors did you identify in the case study?
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Protecting Children during COVID-19 and other Infectious Disease Outbreaks

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