Our group chose to discuss case study I.: Identification and Documentation

Summary of the case study
Jean Claude, eight years old, is separated from his parents and siblings because of a war in their village. Jean Claude and his little brother struggle for themselves to reach a save place/refugee camp where they can ask for help to trace their parents and siblings. Unfortunately, Jean Claude loses his youngest brother along the way and arrives at the camp on his own.
After arriving at the camp Jean Claude encounters a humanitarian aid worker, who want to help him tracing his parents and siblings. What would we like to find out and how would we do this if we were that humanitarian aid worker.
Answer the following questions:
1.What do you need to find out about Jean Claude?
2. How are you going to find the answers to these questions?
Discussion Results
Identification of separated children in general
The first important step will be the identification of the separated children. For the identification of the children, we will coordinate with relevant parties. For instance several NGOs, community members and so on. We will work with other cooperating agencies to do the following:
· Make a list of all possible places the children might be found. This might include places of worship,hospitals, feeding stations, orphanages, near market places, schools, temporary shelters, army barracks, prisons, border crossings, on the streets or in the homes of family or neighbors.
· Decide which places may be unsafe for children. Start looking in the unsafe places first.
· Talk to people who can help find the children. Ask community leaders, teachers, health workers, nurses, social workers, women in the market, or religious leaders. Ask community groups like women’s clubs, local police, the local Red Cross or Red Crescent society, sports or youth organizations where they think children might be.
Identification of Jean Claude: Collecting information
In this case, the separated child, namely Jean Claude, is already in contact with an aid organization. In this particular case, we need find out information about Jean Claude in order to identify his parents and siblings,
Information that we would like to collect:
· Name and last name of the child
· Age and birthdate of the child
· Birthplace of the child
· Home village and address
· Clothes that he was wearing when found
· Identify birthmarks/tattoos/scars/other remarkable characteristics
· Names and ages of the parents (Father & Mother)
· Names and ages of the siblings
· Extended family (names and addresses or homevillages)
· Characteristics of the parents and siblings (For example: hair color, skin color, birthmarks and other remarkable characteristics (tatoos, piercings, scars).
· Information on social or community groups in which the child (or his parents and siblings) are involved (church, school, woman groups etc). We may be able to use these social of community groups for the identification of the child, its parents and siblings and in a later stage we can use these groups for the tracing.
Methods of the information collection
There are several methods that we can use to find out this information.While choosing a certain method, we will have to consider the age and abilities of the child and the psychological effects of the war and separation.
All the collected information will be confidential, and used carefully.
Before we start, we should approach key figures at the camp where Jean Claude is currently living. Do they know who he is, where he came from, with whom he came etc?
To begin we should create some rapport with the child. We could create the rapport through chit chatting with the child about favorite pets, colors, activities etcetera. In order to get information from the child he should have the feeling he can trust us and can openly speak with us.
Then, we do interview in games or fun situation. We ask directly about his name and age. We ask him to draw his house and tell a story about it. This will give us information on the location of the home village (address). Then, we ask him to draw his family and ask him to tell a story about them to get information about the parents and siblings (name, age, characteristics, and so on). As an additional method, we will ask him to play simulation like puppet show, to get a brief story about the circumstances leading to separation.
If it appears to be difficult to get information from the child, for instance because he is shy, scared, or doesn’t know the answers to our questions, we should try to find another way to get the information necessary for the identification. One way to collect information on this child would be to find key figures who know the child. For example, try to get in contact with the village head where Jean Claude lived before he was separated, try to find teachers from his old school, key figures at the church he attended, neighbours, key figures at the hospital, the police etc. We should also approach other NGOs active in the area and local government representatives.
Besides this, we will do a direct observation to collect the following information :The clothes he was wearing at the first time we met, birthmarks/tattoos/scars/other remarkable characteristics, and phyisical characteristics (hair color, skin color, physical built etc).
After that, we will take a picture of the child. We will be using the picture of the child in the search of his parents and siblings.
It is very important to document the collected information carefully. If the documentation of the information is done well, the information will enable us to find the parents and siblings of the child in the future. The collected information should be organized in a computerfile, which is linked to the interagency database. The information about the child will be accessible for other organizations as well. By adding the information to the interagency database the chance of reunification with parents and siblings will be bigger. If the parents or siblings approach another organization, this organization will also be able to find information on the missing child and define its whereabouts.
There is also another reason why the proper documentation of the information collected in the first phase of identification is very important. In the phase of verification (in which the relation between child and proposed parent is checked), one could use the information of the child upon arrival at the camp (For example to check the clothes the child was wearing when he got separated etc.).