Worldwide child care practitioners face increasing challenges in providing appropriate care and protection services to children, youth, and families. On the ground, childcare practitioners are often unable to access much-needed resources. Efforts are necessary to disseminate practical tools on how to prevent unnecessary family separation and support families and communities to develop better care alternatives when separation is inevitable.
Recognizing the urgent need for concerted action and support, the Better Care Network (BCN), an interagency network facilitating global information exchange on the issue of children without adequate family care, was formed in 2005.
The BCN is guided by BCN Steering Committee and administered by two-person Secretariat, housed at UNICEF Headquarters. As part of its core mandate to facilitate global information exchange, in 2006 the BCN launched its website (www.bettercarenetwork.org). The website library contains over 600 research, theoretical, and policy documents directly related to the care and protection of vulnerable children.
The website does not contain documents directly related to the implementation of good practices in care; such as, guidance on the policies, laws, and structures required to effectively care for children, as well as manuals and tools on setting up and delivering quality care placements. Thus, there is still a significant need to provide childcare practitioners with practical tools to assist them in their day-to-day work. In response to this need, in 2009-2010, the BCN developed the Better Care Network Toolkit.
The Better Care Network Toolkit has been developed to support practitioners around the world in planning for and delivering better care for children who require an out-of-home placement. It contains a selection of practical guides and manuals, chosen as examples of good practice and for their global relevance particularly for low resource settings. They cover the types of policies required to support a quality care system, and practice guidance and tools for the delivery of alternative care. The BCN Toolkit can be used and adapted to serve as a professional development tool for practitioners worldwide.
The BCN Toolkit is now available as a ‘Practitioner’s Portal’ on the BCN website: http://bettercaretoolkit.org/bcn/toolkit/. To support toolkit users, the toolkit website includes: toolkit guide, glossary of key terms, and advanced search function.
For information regarding BCN and the BCN Toolkit or to receive BCN’s bi-monthly email newsletter, feel free to contact the BCN Secretariat, firstname.lastname@example.org.