A very important step in our programs is the visits in the families and if possible the complete reunification with the child. Numerous are the street children (90%) who have a mother and a father still alive. In 30% of the cases, the family is united, offers the children an adequate environment and has enough resources to care for the child. These children often land in the street for minor reasons: influence of friends, taste of adventure, running away… For those, the attempt to make the family reunited is usually a success.
For hundreds of children who are not as described above and who ran away for more serious reasons (divorce, violence, poverty…), a progressive process of family getting together can begin.
Of course, this program only has sense with the will and the decision of the child himself. To oblige a street child to go back home is an impossible undertaking because the child will be back in the capital city even before the social worker. In this case, it is unlikely that he will take the decision to go back home. In the same way, we have to respectfully discuss the reasons that push the children to the street, thanks to convenient family support program. No matter what the past exactions, the family must be discussed and considered as a partner and not as a source of pain.
It is understandable that trying a reunification with a child that enjoyed the freedom of the streets is not easy and does not always guarantee success. Nevertheless, a simple visit in the family is very important as it allows the child to keep an important link with his family in the future.
The reintegration process involves social and psychological work with the child and his father, mother and/or guardians.
Steps to Family Reunification:
- Our social worker works with a child who wants to be reunited with his/her family. This involves having meetings with the child to evaluate his motivation and assessing his family conditions, the causes of his departure and his subsequent history.
- We then work with the child to rebuild his physical and mental health.
- The next step is to raise the awareness of the child about various risks such as HIV, drug, alcohol and exploitation.
- We only re-integrate a child into a family environment that is autonomous and balanced and we provide him help in case there are difficulties with the reintegration.
- Finally, we compile an administrative file on the child in order to stay in contact with the family.