Manuals, Toolkits and Guidance

Interagency Working Group on Unaccompanied and Separated Children (2013) Alternative Care in Emergencies Toolkit

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Save the Children

A practical interagency resource designed to facilitate alternative care for children during and after an emergency.

The Alternative Care in Emergencies (ACE) Toolkit is designed to facilitate interagency planning and implementation of alternative care and related services for children separated from or unable to live with their families during and after an emergency. There is no single type of care placement that will meet the needs of all children. Each emergency will have its own set of protection risks. Different societies will have their own unique norms for how children are looked after. Each family and community will have different levels of requirements and resources and, most importantly, each child will have individual needs, concerns and preferences. It is the responsibility of those implementing care and protection programmes to assess carefully what is appropriate and feasible, given the context, and to develop placement options that are rooted in community norms and that meet a minimum level of quality standards.

This Toolkit was developed to provide practical interagency guidance based on previous learning that can be quickly adapted in an emergency. The Toolkit contains:

  • guiding principles that are central to all interim care-related work;
  • summary guidance for quick reference to the tools and information throughout the document;  extended guidance, including: 
  • managing and coordinating a programme, including how to support families and caregivers without encouraging secondary separation;
  • managing individual care to respond to the protection needs of each individual child;
  • information on how to set up, assess and support a variety of types of alternative care 60 adaptable tools, including best practices, country examples, and learning from previous emergencies.

The guidance and tools reflect experience and approaches recommended by the Interagency Working Group on Unaccompanied and Separated Children, which comprises UNICEF, UNHCR, ICRC, Save the Children, IRC and World Vision. They are based on learning from recent and current emergencies, and draw on the principles and standards related to separated children and out-of-home care.

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Alternative care

Child protection in emergencies

Children in foster care

Emergency settings

Family tracing and reunification (FTR)

Separated children

Unaccompanied children

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