Group 8
Dana Barakat, Xheni Shehu & Ayman Yassa
Case Study IV- Re-Unification
We shall examine the Re-unification stage of the Separated Children Case Study IV and explore the most effective ways to handle this scenario.
A number of principles must guide the reunification process:
  1. The best interest of the child is paramount based on both the child’s views and wishes and an objective analysis of care and safety concerns
  2. Ensure that culturally appropriate mechanisms and communities are engaged and empowered in the long-term care and protection of children
  3. Ensure sustainability of services beyond the immediate crisis.
Question 1: What preparation for the family and for the children will be necessary for this reunification to take place successfully?
There are many general issues that need to be addressed regarding the boys’ reunification with their aunt or other potential caretakers.
· Does the aunt have the financial means to handle the kids?
· Is she in good enough health to handle the responsibility effectively?
· What does she offer the children [other than being their blood relative]?
· What are the sister’s roles in the family? Could they help look after the children?
· Who else could handle or take care of the children in case that reunification with the aunt does not last? What does their culture/ tradition dictate or allow? We should look into potential options including Godparents, clans, community members, friends, other relatives
· Will they be accepted when they returned?
· When do you stop trying to trace the parents? What arrangements should be made if and when the parents are found?
During the preparedness phase, we need to direct critical questions to the aunt:
· Are you willing and capable to raise the children?
· What are the barriers/challenges that you will face over the years?
· What can you do to overcome these barriers?
· Is there any community or other type of support that you could depend on in times of difficulty and crisis?
· What kind of help would you need?
While taking into account the kids’ desperation to be reunited, we need to address questions directly to them [and include them in the beginning of the preparedness phase].
· What do the children want? Including the sisters
· Who else do they think would be a good caretaker for them?
· What are their primary fears? What are their priority needs and issues?
· What can we do to ameliorate some challenges that they are currently facing?
· What is that their family can do to ameliorate some of the challenges?
· What do they think can the community/village members can do to help them?
We need to assess the children’s health (both physical and psychological) and educational needs:
· What psychological issues are the children facing?
· Are there any immediate physical needs that must be addressed (i.e. malnutrition, clothing, hygiene, etc.)
· What if a child/ children were intentionally left? How do they feel?
· What happened to the 3 year old and 2 year old brothers during the time they were missing?
· What physical ailments, if any?
· What arrangements should be used for long-term needs and how do you sustain them?
· What school did they attend prior to the emergency? Is there schooling available for both the boys and the girls?
· What must be done in order for the children to attend school? Are there any fees or other issues that may prevent the children from attending school? What can we do to ameliorate these challenges?

In addition, we need to undertake pre-reunification home visits to verify and assess the reunification arrangement. Here it may be advisable to speak with neighbors and community members and further assess potential community arrangements that may be used in the reunification process.
Question 2: What key elements should be included in the actual re-unification of the family with the children?
  • Health condition of aunt and children and support services available for them
  • financial position of aunt/family – what would be the most appropriate form of economic assistance? Cash transfer by the Government or development of livelihood opportunities such as providing farming equipment, seeds, etc. The later has long term potential for economic gain
  • community participation and support – What services are there available? How can we strengthen and engage communities in monitoring and evaluating reunification?
  • Any additional neededmaterial support, such as assistance with school and other fees and livelihood support Economic Feasibility: How can we provide essentials to the children if the aunt or other caretakers are unable to do so? Food shelter, medical attention, etc?
  • Establish monitoring and follow-up mechanisms – this could be community based or it could be done by encouraging children to participate in special programs such as “children’s clubs” to share their reunification experience and voice any concern that may arise. A schedule of follow-up visits should be discussed and determined.
We should address tradition and Ceremonial Concerns. Do they need a ceremony of acceptance?
  • Should there be a cleansing ceremony? Since the spirits didn’t know where the kids went, do they need a ceremony to connect to their protective spirit? How can we assist? If its critical, need to make certain it will happen.
  • What are the cultural traditions and practices?
  • How can we recreate the support that a child has in the best of times?

Question 3: Once the caretaking issues have been decided, what sort of MULTIPLE follow up would be required?
  • Home visits to determine how she is caring for them? Is she using the resources to help them?
  • Have separate interviews with aunt and children to ensure that the opinions and needs of all are integrated to the extent possible. This is especially important for children who may be unwilling to speak in the presence of the aunt if anything is going wrong.
  • Make sure aunt has the children’s documents and that she don’t lose them
  • Are there any new risks or threats that have arisen as a result of reunification? Are there any signs of neglect, maltreatment, abuse? Lack of education because children have to do household chores and provide for a livelihood?
  • Engage existing community structures to monitor the reunification and other formal institutions such as the welfare system and schools.
Encourage and facilitate the development of community protection committees and children’s clubs