Since 2019 Coram International has been contracted to conduct a mapping and assessment of alternative care practices, the social welfare workforce and community structures. The mapping and assessment of existing service provision research is intended to identify existing service provision as well as equity gaps in current response services to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of children at State, LGA and community levels and to provide an evidence-base on which an informed strategy for the development and implementation of alternative care for children can be built. The team will employ a mixed methods methodology for the assessments, and include qualitative, participatory, and quantitative techniques of data collection and analysis. The project will culminate in a number of deliverables: an assessment report on alternative care in Nigeria; an assessment report on social welfare workforce and structure in Nigeria; an assessment report on community structures in Nigeria; state alternative care strategies and a federal model alternative care strategy; social welfare LGA unit guidelines; and a strategy for community engagement case management.
From 2019 into 2020 Coram International has continued to support the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, and State Ministries in Lagos, Cross River, Gombe and Plateau to strengthen and reform the child protection and child justice systems. Under a contract with UNICEF, the team has continued to provide technical expertise and assistance to develop secondary legislation for the implementation of the Child Rights Law/Act as well as standard working protocol(s) for child protection case management between social welfare, justice, health and education professionals. The team will also provide technical assistance to review and finalise the Federal Social Welfare Policy.
In 2016, Coram International was commissioned by UNICEF to carry out an in-depth mapping and assessment of the child protection system in Gombe and Cross River States. The mapping provided an understanding of how the child protection system currently functions, identified gaps and developed recommendations to be used by the Government in Cross River and Gombe States to support the strengthening of the child protection system.
From 2015 to 2018, Coram International provided support to the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, and State Ministries responsible in nine focus states; Lagos, Cross River, Plateau, Gombe, FCT, Edo, Kaduna, Kano and Benue, to develop a model for child protection and a standard set of regulations and guidance to support the operationalization of the model nationwide. The project also included technical assistance in relation to the reform of the juvenile justice system to strengthen the capacity of the justice system to handle cases of children in contact and conflict with the law in line with international standards and the Child Rights Act/Law. More specifically, the project covered:
- Child protection – Development of a guide for the establishment of child protection systems in Nigeria.
- Technical assistance for the development of the regulatory framework for the operationalization of the Child Rights Act/Law; undertaking a review of the Act and State level Child Rights Laws and existing regulations to identify required secondary legislation to operationalize the law at State level as well as the development of regulations for a number of key states.
- Development of standard working protocol(s) for child protection case management between social welfare, justice (with a focus on the police), health and education;
- Capacity building of social welfare officers, child development officers and para social workers and Child Protection Network (CPN) members, including the development of a curriculum on child protection and case management.
- Juvenile justice system strengthening – Strengthening the capacity of the Family Courts to operationalize the child rights law through development and provision of training for judges, magistrates Family Court Assessors and Social Welfare Officers.
- The development of a model community rehabilitation scheme for children in conflict and in contact with the law. Coram will provide technical assistance and coaching to programme staff to establish the programme in Lagos and plan for replication across other states.
- Support to the establishment of a child targeted legal aid programme
- Strengthening the capacity of the Nigerian Police Force to handle children’s cases, including the development and provision of training on children’s rights, child protection and children in conflict and contact with the law.
- Technical assistance to develop Guidelines and Standard Operational Procedures for specialised police desks for children, which may also handle cases of other vulnerable persons and/or specialized cases (e.g. SGBV), including guidance and standard operating procedures for operation
- Strengthening the capacity of detention centre authorities to protect the rights of children including capacity building and the development of a complaints mechanism for borstals, remand homes and prisons.