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Caring Systems: Maximising synergies between care reform and child protection system strengthening in Eastern and Southern Africa
Addressing care in a systemic way with linkages to the wider child protection system is essential as there are large numbers of children at risk of separation, unnecessarily separated or who are unsafe in their families or alternative care. Systemic and scaled change is needed to address the magnitude of this problem. Care reform is under-resourced and there is often resistance to change. A systems approach can unite stakeholders together to advocate for enhanced provision and ensure that limited resources are used effectively. Care and child protection are inextricably linked and care reform requires the broader child protection system to be operating effectively.
This paper promotes a system strengthening approach to care reform. It begins with an explanation of child protection and care and the relationship between these two concepts. It goes on to explain why system strengthening is needed to improve children’s care, and how care reform can be carried out systematically, using a range of examples from across the Eastern and Southern Africa region. The paper is aimed at UNICEF country office staff, government and others working on children’s care and protection in the region.