Case Study I: Identification and Documentation
Group 3: Asuna, Kimberly and Tanya

What do you need to find out about Jean-Claude? How are you going to find answers to these questions?

As much information will be gathered during the initial interview in the case that another interview opportunity may not arise, and the memory of the child will also be likely to decrease as time goes along. The child will be interviewed in a calm, quiet setting by someone who is trained in interviewing children.

We need to know basic data such as family names, given name, nicknames or other names by which he is identified, his date of birth, place of birth, where he comes from (tribe, ethnic origin), his address, his nationality, spoken languages, religion, education, particular identifying feature (birth marks, scars, disabilities, tattoos, etc), any health issues that we need to be aware of. Using his story and pre-existing information about the area, we can map out the path he took to figure out where he came from. Jean-Claude himself can also draw for us a map of things that he remembers and sees in his environment and world.

A family history should be taken and an eco-map drawn to identify who his parents, relatives, extended family, and/or caretakers are. Information should be gathered and documented in regards to his accompanying siblings including the names, sexes, ages, relationships, and address if different from the child.

Observations and notes should be made about what Jean-Claude is wearing, and what he has with him (personal belongings). A photo will be taken of the child alone, and with his sibling group and attached to the documentation forms. In the case that Jean-Claude is moved, all information and documentation should be sent along with him.

We also need to know the context and culture surrounding Jean-Claude. What are some things we should be aware of given his culture? What are his community’s religious or political affiliations? (Depending on the context, these items may give us insight into why Jean Claude’s village was under attack and if he is in harms way while at the camp and if special safety provisions should be made.) Is his culture matrilineal or patrilineal? (This will impact who will be an acceptable caregiver in the interim.)

The circumstances surrounding the separation needs to be documented using both the child’s own story, as well as of other children and adults around him. What was the reason for the separation? Other adults around Jean-Claude will also be interviewed about the circumstances surrounding the separation, the community from which they come, and whether anyone recognizes him and can tell us anything else more about him, his family, and/or his community.
Once his community is identified, KII’s of that community can be interviewed. A community mapping exercise with Jean Claude could help us establish the actors and dynamics in his community. If we are able to identify which Red Cross worker found Jean-Claude, they should also be interviewed.

An important thing to note is that in the process of gathering information doing interviews and activities, we need to be careful of following the “do no harm” concept and make sure we do not create false hope, etc. We should be clear and transparent about our mission. (Who we are, what we are trying to accomplish, etc.) A psychosocial assessment should also be done to check the child’s emotional state, the extent to which his developmental needs are being met, and anything else that is important for the daily care of the child. The child’s best interests should always be considered, and the child’s intentions, wishes, plans, and concerns should be heard.

Beyond the initial interview, group activities along with other children and/or the creation of a Child Friendly Space may allow him to interact with other children and to begin to feel some sense of normalcy and security (and perhaps be more forthcoming with helpful information regarding his situation). A participatory ranking exercise with him and some of the other children in the camp who are of the same age group could be done to identify what their immediate needs are. These exercises are often fun and energizing and empowering for children and offer a wealth of information to aid practitioners. These exercises are also non-threatening as the children are not outwardly singled out and are working in a team to identify their key challenges.

Registration forms and records of interviews will be kept with or near the child, with all changes in location clearly noted.