Case Study 3 - Verification
Verifications are done with 3 objectives:
1. To find out whether the child is truly separated or has a living guardian
2. To trace the living guardian
3. To see whether this guardian is able and willing to accept and ensure the wellbeing of the child and the child desires to (re)unite with the guardian

When the child is found
Wherever the child was found
Interview the child (if old enough to articulate) and other members of the community to ascertain whether the child is separated, unaccompanied or has a living guardian.
Documentation Stage
In the camp
Information gathered during documentation should be verified by:
· Interviewing the child
· Interviewing other children and adults in the camp/ community
However, neither has been done properly in the given case study. For instance, the woman looking after the child had not taken into account the information given by her regarding Rosette, ignoring an opportunity for verification regarding her village/family. Her brother Emile, the other boy Michel and other camp members (adults) also have not been interviewed, which is why they have spent several months in the camp and in the provincial children’s centre, even though Michel’s aunt was on the other side of the camp. The inaccurate information given by Michel was also not verified by the camp staff.
Post- tracing
First at the village with the guardians and thereafter at the camp with the child.
After tracing the child’s guardians, verify that they know the child by asking them to identify the child’s photo from among a number of other photos; to describe the child’s physical and behavioural attributes, e.g. birthmarks, skills and talents, habits; to mention information known only to them and the child, e.g. names of relatives, nicknames, personal incidents; describe the child’s attire at the time of separation and the context of separation, e.g. at what point did they lose the child, where, who else was there when it happened. Cross check the information gathered with neighbours and other community leaders, e.g. school principal, religious leaders or local authorities.

Also ask the guardians whether they are able and willing to accept the child and care for her. If willing, find out whether they are actually in a position to do so, e.g. economically, physically and psychologically.

In the event that the guardians are willing and able to accept the child, the information gathered from the guardians and the community should be cross-checked with the child. It is of paramount importance to verify the child’s desire to reunite with the guardians.

The case study does not mention whether any of the above verification has been done with regards to the narrating child and her brother, except requesting the children to identify the aunt through a photo and asking her regarding her willingness to reunite. However, an oversight has been made in not probing the children and verifying their aunt’s ability to care for them. Therefore we also assume that verification has not been done with the aunt as well, since the child mentions that the aunt is very sick and may not be in a position to look after them.

Nevertheless, considerable verification has taken place when identifying Pascal’s guardians, as the guardians were questioned on his age, what he was wearing at the time of separation, etc. Singing a favourite song was a good means of verification, however, it’s not clear whether it was a spontaneous reaction by the guardians or was advised by the officers. Further verification for accuracy would have been advisable, since the child was very small, and there are risks, e.g. child’s appearance would have changed over the months, children with similar information being given to the wrong family.
Reunification stage
At the village
At the time of reunification, verification is required to confirm the willingness of both parties. However, this has not taken place in the case study.
Follow up
At the village
During follow up it can be verified whether the guardians are actually taking good care of the children. Case study does not indicate follow up.

Issues Arising from Verification
Required Action
Guardians may be unable or unwilling to accept and care for the child due to socio-economic reasons, e.g. not having a proper income, being physically/mentally incapacitated, risk of child being conscripted to armed groups, etc.
Provide financial/material and psychosocial support to the family and community to care for the child.

The child may be unwilling to join the guardians due to reasons such as forming strong attachment to a caregiver in the camp, inability to adjust to the family due to long-term separation, relatives being strangers to the child.
Provide psychosocial support to the guardian and child.
Both the child and the only living guardian may be willing to reunite but it may not be possible to do so for the best interest of the child. E.g. A girl child to be re-united with the young male guardian (in the Sri Lankan setting usually this is not considered).
Searching for alternative care for the child, e.g. fit person, voluntary home (last resort).
Guardian may have been or has the intention to exploit the child, e.g. sexual abuse, using for labour, neglect.
Awareness raising to guardians on child protection; legal action against perpetrator; searching for alternative care for the child, e.g. fit person, voluntary home (last resort).
Fraudulence may have taken place, e.g. attempt at taking a child who’s not their own.
Awareness raising on child protection highlighting danger and risk in attempting to own somebody else’s child; Regular periodic monitoring; Legal action against perpetrator.
Guardian may have accepted the child for material gain (and is or has the potential to neglect/ abuse the child).
Awareness raising on child protection highlighting the danger and risk in doing so; Regular periodic monitoring to ensure care and wellbeing of child; Legal action if child is subjected to abuse; Finding alternative care for the child.