While some information exists on the causes of family and child vulnerability and the drivers of child-family separation in Cambodia, this data has not been rigorously researched nor integrated into a user-friendly risk assessment tool. The ID Poor mechanism, under the Ministry of Planning, identifies the most vulnerable households. In addition, some NGOs in Cambodia use program-specific indicators to identify the most vulnerable children and households. To date, however, there is no standard mechanism across the country which will provide data to help in understanding which families and children may be vulnerable to violence, family separation and other child well-being indicators.
In order to meet the need for a standardised tool to assess family and child vulnerability, Family Care First (FCF) partners and the Government of Cambodia have agreed to develop a Family and Child Vulnerability Index (FCVI), comprised of key indicators of risk and protective factors. This tool will be used to identify children and families who are vulnerable to a variety of child well-being concerns, and which may result in children being separated from their families and/or placed in RCIs. The FCVI is being developed using primary research (discussions with local government and community members) and secondary research (drawing together existing data and literature). The aim is to develop a tool which will enable classification of families and children into three categories – Low Vulnerability, Mild Vulnerability and Severe Vulnerability.
The development of the FCVI is being steered by a consortium of several organisations, with World Vision International as the lead and Child Safe Horizons as the research firm. Government partners include MoSVY, NIS, MoE, NCDD, MoI and others. Child Safe Horizons is the research firm leading the development of the FCVI pilot.
The following work has been carried out by Child Safe Horizons with support from FCF partners, government stakeholders, and community members:
Phase 1: Literature Review
Over 50 documents have been collected from various partners and online sources. This literature will help to define terms such as vulnerability, risk, well-being and protective factors in the context of Cambodia. This has shaped the methodology and theoretical framework of the FCVI project.
Phase 2: Primary Research
The analysis of documents guided the primary research which was undertaken in four Cambodian provinces – Battambang, Kandal, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh (one district and its commune, as well as a village from the commune, were chosen in each province). Focus Group Discussions (FGD) were held at two district level offices, four communes, and four villages.
Phase 3: Synthesis Report – Literature and Primary Data
The field data is being compiled at the moment and will be analysed along with the literature that has been gathered. The proposed report will be a synthesis of the existing data on RCIs in Cambodia, existing vulnerability measurement tools, literature, and the views of parents, children, government officials and NGO staff regarding the notions of vulnerability, risks, well-being and protective factors. The preliminary draft of the FCVI Tool will be ready at the end of this process. The resulting synthesis report and the tool will be discussed in a consultation workshop which will be attended by partnering stakeholders including government departments, NGOs and other members of the FCF group.