Case Study III Verification

1) When and where should verification be carried out?

Verification should be carried once an adult is identified as a relative or caretaker in order to validate the nature of the relationship and the desire of the child and the family to be reunited. The verification should involve both sides: the parent/caregiver on the one hand, and the child, on the other hand; the child should be involved in the process as soon as an adult is identified as a relative.

Verification should be placed in the wider community context to ensure child’s wellbeing after the reunification: if locally appropriate, it could be important to involve the community leaders or existing child protection groups. Corroborating the verification with the relatives’ neighbors could also be important to confirm the relationship of the adults with the child.

2) How should verification be carried out?

In the scenario 3, no information is provided on the verification process carried out with the aunt of the three brothers. However, the aunt’s claims should have been verified through paperwork or identification documents if available. The aunt could have been also asked to:
1) show some pictures of the child,
2) describe the child,
3) recall a child’s favorite song or game.

No information is provided on the willingness of the aunt to take care of the children: the verification process should have taken into account this factor.
From the perspective of the children, verification should have been confirmed that the aunt was really the aunt, without giving preceding information that the sisters were with this woman: in fact, the children may have lied about their willingness to live with the aunt, because of the presence of the other sisters.

Verification should have been carried out once the bothers recognized each other with confirming interviews of backgrounds and past memories of separation and villages of origin. Each brother could have been shown pictures of women and asked to pick out the picture of his aunt. Each child should have been then consulted about options of living with the aunt and drawbacks of that situation.
The verification needs to be documented and the verification forms kept in the child’s record for potential future contestations. In the case study, there is no information on the documentation of the verification carried out for the aunt. Only for the verification process of the youngest brother, Pascal, a thumbprint is required by the children’s centre to certify the reunification.

3) What are some of the issues that might arise from verification which will require further action?

Further exploration is needed if the child expresses concerns on the reunification with a relative/caregiver. In our case, Jean-Claude has concerns in the aunt’s ability to care for the children. He wants to be reunited with the sisters but he is afraid the aunt will not be able to take care of them because she is sick. In this specific context, home assessments need to be done before the children are reunited.

Home assessments are also fundamental if there is any evidence or reports of neglect or abuse of children, alcohol or drug use within the home.
Moreover, follow up/monitoring should be done and it should determine if the aunt is capable of taking care of these children and if she has the financial means and physical ability. A social worker should have accompanied the children back to village, preparing and supporting them for the reunification.