Family for Every Child (Family) will explore linkages between children's care and education including: 1) The ways in which access, relevance, and quality in education systems impact children's care, e.g. the way it contributes to addressing other root causes of separation such as family violence; 2) The ways in which care affects children's access to quality, relevant education, e.g. in relation to educational outcomes; and 3) The ways in which parental attitudes towards education impact on children's care, e.g. communities prioritizing education may have lower rates of early marriage, which affect children's care.
Family will carry out research through a review of online documents, academic/unpublished literature, and interviews with external stakeholders. It will also carry out consultations with children and parents. Family will gather a reference group to guide the design, implementation, analysis, and reporting. Using the evidence it gathers, it will examine the opportunities and mechanisms for advocacy on education and care systems and develop recommendations for education and child protection planners. Lastly, it will disseminate a report outlining any further recommended research, policy, and advocacy.
Family's participating members are respected national organizations. They are Butterflies in India, Muhammidiyah in Indonesia, Partnership for Every Child Russia, and Uyisenga Ni Imanzi in Rwanda. As an example, Muhammidiyah, has over 100 years of experience and a membership of 29 million people. They will take part in the reference group and will deliver the consultations through focus groups, engaging children through diverse participatory tools to explore issues in a child-friendly, in-depth, and qualitative way. Participants will receive context and age appropriate feedback on the findings and next steps. The project will be led by Family's Research Manager, Camilla Jones, who has nine years' experience in child protection.
The research findings will be used to inform the direction of more in-depth research on specific aspects of education and care linkages and to determine initial recommendations on improving the delivery of quality education in relation to children's care and vice versa in the longer term. Ensuing advocacy efforts will enable more effective collaboration between these two sectors, supporting the mutually reinforcing goals of children achieving both rights to education and to adequate care.
Camilla Jones is responsible for the overall coordination and facilitation and will carry out the following tasks:
Form reference group.
September 2014 - January 2015
Conduct literature review (engage consultants for foreign language documents and for specialized education inputs).
Develop tools for consultations led by members and webinar for orientation on the tools (members will have existing expertise in conducting consultations).
November - December 2014
Telephone interviews with approximately 25 key stakeholders.
Butterflies, Muhammidiyah, Partnership for Every Child Russia, and Uyisenga Ni will be responsible for interviewing 18 children and 12 parents with whom they work on a day-to-day basis (in each country) with remote support from Camilla Jones. They will carry out the following tasks:
October - December 2014
Consultations through focus groups with children and parents.
Peer-to-peer learning between members. This could be through a webex session to exchange learning or phone calls with each member to compile findings into a joint report on which members comment (depending on time zone, language, and logistical challenges).
Camilla Jones will then:
Collate findings from the focus groups.
Write final report.
Develop strategy document outlining the next steps in terms of a) further research, where needed and b) key opportunities and mechanisms for advocacy on education and care. (Engage specialized education and advocacy consultant).
Review of final report and the internal strategy by reference group.
March - April 2015
Oversee the design and translation of report.
Dissemination: mail out published final report to non-profits, policy makers, INGOs and UN agencies, specialists, and relevant civil society networks.
Family prioritizes children's safety and will operate against a stringent child protection policy, and standards for consultation and research during the course of this project.
Children worldwide have the right to be cared for properly. It is estimated that over 24 million children are growing up without parental care (EveryChild). Such children may be living in large-scale institutions, with an employer, or in armed groups. Supporting children to grow up in a permanent, safe, and caring family is at the heart of adequate care. Whenever possible, children should be cared for by their own family.
Inadequate care has a detrimental effect on both children and society. Without adequate care, children are less likely to attend or do well in school, less able to access basic services, more likely to engage in anti-social behaviors, and frequently experience compromised development. As adults, children without adequate care are often less able to access employment and are more likely to experience poverty and be dependent on the state. As such, inadequate care hinders social and economic progress, and efforts towards development targets, e.g. employment or education.
Existing - though limited - research suggests multiple ways in which education has an impact on the quality of children's care and vice versa. For example, access to education is a common reason for children to be placed in institutional care and whilst entry into institutions may improve access to schooling, it can have devastating consequences for child well-being, which, in turn, affects his or her education. Conversely, children who cannot access quality, relevant schooling are more vulnerable to trafficking, child labor, and early marriage, all causes of family separation.
Greater research into the linkages between children's care and education would enable decision-makers to improve policies. Through greater evidence and understanding, program managers/project planners, child welfare specialists, and teachers would be able to improve both the quality of care that children receive and learning outcomes, and be better informed to support vulnerable children and their families.
Family for Every Child is seeking financial support towards this project, which would be used to extend the scope of the research so additional members interested in participating in the project can take part.
More widely, Family for Every Child is looking to collaborate with individuals, organizations, and companies with expertise in education, and education and care linkages. Some of the individuals and organizations may be invited to join the reference group.
Family for Every Child will be able to share the findings with the reference group and wider education and child protection planners. Future education projects, including those delivered by CGI members, will benefit from the recommendations. It is hoped that the research will facilitate more effective collaboration between the education and child protection (care) sectors, supporting mutually reinforcing goals of children achieving rights to education and adequate care. Participants in the reference group will benefit from the added knowledge, insight, and networks that participation in such a group brings.
More broadly, Family for Every Child can offer technical assistance in the areas of child protection (the mapping, development, evaluation, and strengthening of child protection systems); child care system reform, e.g., the assessment, reform, and restructuring of alternative family-based care; social protection reform; and social workforce assessment and strengthening to identify and build on strengths within social work systems.