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By the book: Standardizing case management for diversity

Post by Ismahan Ferhat, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF South Sudan

· FrontPage

To treat every child in a unique way we need to standardize. Do it by the book, and the book is now ready.

In the logo and mandate, UNICEF is promising to work for EVERY child. Each and every one comes with a unique experience and story. To ensure we address the individual issues, we must improve the way we collect information advising our programming.

Some might claim that standardizing is the opposite of securing diversity. I would argue it is the opposite. By creating meaningful and practical protocols and guidelines, we make sure nothing is missed and that every unique detail is recorded.

This is why we have developed what we believe is the first ever case management handbook for case workers. 170 pages, explaining case management step by step. What to do, how to speak, what questions to ask, how to assess the information collected and the next steps. The book is contextualized to South Sudan and supports case workers involved in helping victims of gender-based violence, children used by armed groups and unaccompanied and separated children.

To compliment the efforts in the field, we are launching the child protection information management system (CPIMS+). The implementation of this new information management system is coordinated with the effort to strengthen case management capacity for the social welfare workforce in South Sudan. This tool will support in managing protection and services for separated children, child survivors and released children from armed groups, and it is also intended for managing the needs of all affected children from local communities.

If someone asked me what good the handbook and the information system will do, my professional answer would probably be; strengthening the quality and reach of case management services by promoting a unified case management process, with broad vulnerability criteria while building and strengthening the social workforce capacities. But at the end of the day, it is about improving the way we assist children who have experienced the most horrible things and who need warm, safe and professional hands to hold on to and guide them through the difficult road back to life and a childhood.

I would like to thank our partners; the members of the Child Protection Sub-Cluster, the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, Save the Children and all the donors who have supported these initiatives. For pushing this agenda together with us and making real changes in children’s lives.

This project is placing UNICEF just where we should be, namely here for EVERY child.

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