The Impact of Protection Interventions on Unaccompanied and Separated Children in Humanitarian Crises: Systematic Review. Executive Summary.
Humanitarian Evidence Programme
Williamson, Katharine. Landis, Debbie. Shannon, Harry. Gupta, Priya. Gillespie, Leigh-Anne. Özerdem, Alpaslan.
Published: March 2017
This executive summary presents the findings of a systematic review, commissioned by the Humanitarian Evidence Programme and carried out by a research team from Save the Children UK, Save the Children Sweden, and McMaster University, to identify, synthesize and evaluate existing evidence of the impact of protection interventions on unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) in humanitarian crises since 1983. The review synthesizes evidence on outcomes for children from programming on family tracing and reunification (FTR), interim care (residential care centers and foster care) and mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS). As part of the systematic review process, the research team identified all potentially relevant research and selected the 23 relevant studies for analysis, and synthesized the evidence in response to three sub-questions that addressed the effectiveness of child protection activities specific to UASC (such as FTR and interim care) at restoring a protective environment, the effectiveness of interventions aimed at preventing and responding to abuse, exploitation, violence and neglect at ensuring the safety of UAS, and the effectiveness of MHPSS interventions in promoting the mental health and psychosocial well-being of UASC. Findings indicate: the scale of separation in Rwanda is unparalleled in the evidence; there is some indication that the scale of separation may be greater in conflicts than in natural disasters; the evidence indicates an increase in rates of reunification over time; outcomes for children living in residential care were mixed; outcomes of children in foster care were generally positive; and the evidence on MHPSS interventions is extremely limited. Recommendations are made related to the state of evidence, FTR interventions, interim care interventions, general child protection programming, and MHPSS interventions. 2 figures. (Author abstract modified)
refugees; unaccompanied children; foster children; child placement; foster families; family reunification; residential care institutions; prevention programs; child welfare services; mental health services; well being; therapeutic effectiveness