Findings of Orphancare’s reintegration pilot project
From November 2014 to November 2016 Orphancare ran a reintegration pilot project to identify and build capacity for a family and community based care programme that would underpin Malaysia’s national deinstitutional strategy.
During this pilot project Orphancare sought to:
- Lay the groundwork and good practices for institutionalised children to begin their transition to a home environment
- Prepare children and families for life together as a family
- Build capacity within the various social services to support a national reintegration programme
OrphanCare worked with the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development. Of the 47 institutions approached 9 government and private institutions agreed to participate. The impact of this pilot reintegration programme is underway.
During the pilot project OrphanCare successfully reintegrated 11 children from 3 homes with their families, arranged the adoption of 17 children from 6 homes and engaged 71 social support services.
In keeping with international best practice Orphancare reintegrates children in this priority:
- With biological parents
- Extended family and kin
- Adoptive parents
- Foster carer until suitable adoptive parents are found
- Small group homes
Some findings from the pilot project are:
- Social workers feel the system works against DI. It is difficult to reintegrate children with minimal or no support such as free day care, housing, financial aid and medical support for poor families
- Challenges for reintegration are many but the main issue is poverty; the financial aid for poor families is not enough in today’s economy especially in urban areas. Most poor people are unaware of the various government services available to them
- Insufficient government facilities for children with disabilities, especially in rural areas of Malaysia and insufficient financial assistance for single mothers
- Lack of housing is a key hindrance. Government housing is limited and there is a long waiting list
- There are no laws regulating the setting up and placement of children in institutions
With this experience OrphanCare looks forward to collaborations with other NGOs and corporations to address a vacuum in social support services. It also advocates more services that will allow children to live in the community with their families.