Group 1: Sharlini, Shyamali and Zoe

Separated Children
Case Study I
Identification and Documentation

What do you need to find out about Jean-Claude?

Key issues regarding Jean- Claude-Jean-Claude arrives at the Red Cross camp as an Unaccompanied Minor. He was separated from his parents and siblings as well as known members of the community in the midst of an armed conflict situation in his country. Due to his safety being threatened and inability to locate his parents Jean-Claude leaves his home, forced to evacuate and follow the masses.

Health and Nutritional Needs-The child has traveled a considerable distance with very little to sustain himself. He is therefore hungry dehydrated and exhausted. As well as facing sanitation and hygiene issues, Jean-Claude is extremely vulnerable communicable diseases.

Protection Needs-The child is vulnerable to abuse, exploitation, force labour, abduction, institutionalization and recruitment into armed forces.

Psychological needs- Jean-Claude took on the temporary role as primary carer to his younger brother. Due to further fighting amongst locals he is separated from his brother. The child is emotionally and physically exhausted and has been forced to take on a role that surpasses his age, knowledge and requirements as a child. There are abandonment and separation issues. Vulnerability/security issues (physically and emotionally) which are further coupled with the lack of knowledge of what the future holds and whether he be reunited with his family. The child is in a delicate and fragile state and therefore needs to be approached and treated with care by professionals that can offer at the very least temporary stability and security. As an unaccompanied minor the child is extremely susceptible to trauma which can manifest itself in numerous ways.

It is imperative that Jean-Claude has the space and opportunity to speak freely about the events that have taken place to not only allow him to comes to terms with the series of events and potentially empower him, but to also give sufficient and rich qualitative data to researchers and those performing rapid assessments.

“All children rely on others for care and protection from harm as they grow and develop”- Save the Children.
Separated children who have watched and been in a conflict situation automatically seek comfort in their primary care givers. With the primary caregivers missing and the child having to take on a new and demanding role as a caregiver himself it is vital in this particular case children and properly nurtured and rehabilitated.

It is extremely important that the child is reunited with his parents (on the assumption that he is not in any imminent danger within his usual home environment)

This child needs to be placed in the care of the Red Cross camp personnel and the process of Family Tracing needs to start immediately. It is already established that the child is in the camp as an unaccompanied minor. At this point we need to register him.
We need to find out basic personal data about the child such as family name, given name/s, nicknames, gender and date of birth (if the child knows), ethnic group, nationality, language spoken, religion, education (does he go to school and if so in what grade is he, name of the school and teacher).

The few personal belongings that the child has carried need to be logged. There is also a need visually examine the child, noting hair colour, eyes, if there are any birthmarks, scars or notably disabilities that can aid the process of identification and reunification.

There are many questions that require answers. Jean-Claude may be able to answer some of them.
How many siblings did he have?
What is his father’s job?
What is his mother’s job?
What are the names of his parents and siblings? (Even if they may not be the actual family name and given names, it would be useful to note them down because it may come in handy for verification later on).
Who lives in his house at home?
Who lives next door to them?
Key things around his home such as river/lake/school/temple etc....
What school does he attend?
What class is he in?
What is the name of his teacher/s?
Circumstance of his separation from family?
However, Jean-Claude may not know the answers to some questions;
What is his address?
What is the name of his village?
What is the full name of father?
what is the full name of mother?
Date of birth of him and his siblings?
Date of separation?

A photograph should be taken of the child and placed in the registration form. His ID number should be placed as a tag around his wrist or neck for easy identification, because it is possible that we might have several children who have similar names. The badge should display both the child’s name and identify number as this is a case of dignity.

How are you going to find answers to these questions?

By abiding by the ‘do no harm’ principle and establishing whether the child is physically and emotionally fit, it is important to use a Red Cross relief worker, ideally with experience and at the very least with visible identification. They will ask a variety of questions such as those posed above to the child. It is therefore important wait until the child is ready to talk, in the mean time it is fundamental to set up a good rapport.

It is then important to ascertain whether there are other members of his family or community in the camp. This can help potentially fill in any information holes and accelerate the reunification process. It is also important to find out details of the population in the affected areas so that we can verify with governmental officers in the area.