4. Children residing in Child Care Homes
The Central Child Welfare Board (CCWB) estimates that 15,215 children live in 797 registered child care homes (CCHs) in Nepal. CCHs are often referred to as orphanages however it is estimated that at least 85 per cent of children residing in these homes have at least one living parent (UNICEF-TdH 2008). Further, it is well established that staying in a CCH can have detrimental effects on children such as being more likely to suffer from poor physical health, reduced intellectual capability and social and behavioural problems compared to children raised at home or in foster care (Browne 2009). It has been recognised that a family environment is the best place for a child to grow up and policy initiatives of the Government of Nepal reflect this. To date CCHs have often been the only alternative to parental care and efforts now need to be made to place children residing in CCHs in the care of families. To do this comprehensive data on children residing in CCHs needs to be collected.
The CCWB collects data annually on the number of children residing in registered CCHs. As mentioned above there are 797 registered CCHs in Nepal however of the 422 that are located in the Kathmandu Valley, data has only been collected from 181. This is largely due to lack of resource and comprehensive data collection system.
In addition, detailed information on children residing in homes is not available. This information is necessary in order to monitor and assess the situation of children residing in homes and to prioritise children for placement with families. Further, the CCWB have expressed an interest in strengthening their data collection systems however they need support in this regard.
It is important that data collection systems are improved to collect the following information from children residing in residential care homes:
· Date of entry to home;
· Who placed the child in care;
· Why the child was placed in care;
· Level of education;
· Parental status (single orphan, double orphan etc);
· HIV infected or affected (CABA);
· Disability status;
· District of origin;
· Ethnic background;
· Health status (affected by disease, stunting, etc);
· Conflict affected
· Birth registration
Data should be collected about children already in care and children entering care. In addition, there is no central list of CCHs registered with the government. Technology may also be used to collect details of CCHs renewing their registration each year so a centralized list can be maintained. Any data collected needs to be automatically populated and stored in a central database for access by CCWB staff. The CCWB does not have the capacity to input data collected into a database.
What has already been collected?
Earlier this year the CCWB started collecting the following information from 325 of the 570 homes in the Kathmandu Valley regarding children:
· Level of education and reason for not attending school (if applicable);
· Whether children are infected with HIV or are CABA;
· Whether they are disabled (classified as physical, mental, low hearing, blind);
· Parental status (both parents alive, single orphan, double orphan);
· Birth registration status;
· Time spent in care;
· District or origin.
This data is in the process of verification and is currently maintained in an excel database.
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