Pilot Learn and Grow

In March 2015, USAID convened local and global experts in child welfare and tasked them with collectively identifying strategies for increasing the percentage of children living in safe, protective family care. This group set forth the following measurable objectives and organized working groups around four key focus areas:

With seed funds from USAID and GHR, these groups worked together to design a series of 11 pilot, learn and grow projects which will serve as the foundation for longer term change.

Measurable Objectives

  • Decrease the rate at which children are separated from their families
  • Increase the rate at which children are safely and successfully reintegrated into family care

Thematic Sub-Groups (TSGS)

Goverment System Support

Stronger and more effective government action to bring increased resources and accountability to the system.

Direct response through a more developed workforce

A strengthened social service workforce to improve the effectiveness of social services and support provided to children and families and to promote accessibility of familybased care options.

Prevention of child-family separation

Strengthened family and community structures to prevent unnecessary child-family separation and enable healthy child development in a permanent family.

Transformation of the dominant care model

Transforming the dominant care model to one that supports families and communities first.

1: National Consultation

Long term outcome:

A consolidated framework for child protection in Cambodia.

Intermediate outcomes:

  • Children, Government, Civil Society Organizations and development partners involved in the process report that the framework development process is inclusive and productive.
  • New child protection system framework and implementation plan developed and agreed upon.
  • Resources committed and budget allocated from Government and development partners.

2: Multi-Agency Management Information System

Long term outcome:

Management information system aligned with the consolidated framework for child protection in Cambodia.

Intermediate outcomes:

  • A clear overarching governance structure and MIS working group to support the contracted MIS consultancy firm in the development of the MIS blueprint is established, to ensure stakeholder buy-in and alignment with the overall child protection framework.
  • The blueprint for the management information system is fit for purpose and is agreed upon by all relevant stakeholders partners.

3: Social Work Standards and Training Needs Assessment

Long term outcome:

Better quality of social work services provided.

Intermediate outcomes:

  • A set of minimum basic social work standards to assure the quality of basic social work practice for organisations and their social work staff.
  • Identified organisations understanding of their needs to meet minimum basic social work practice standards enhanced.
  • A set of minimum basic training standards for course content and methodology to assure the quality of basic social work course content and methodology for basic social work training course provider.
  • Identified organisations understanding of their needs to meet minimum basic training standards for course content and methodology

4: Information, Education and Communication

Long term outcome:

Increased interest in and status of the field of social work.

Intermediate outcomes:

  • Increased awareness, understanding and perceived value of social work amongst high school students.
  • Increased awareness, understanding and perceived value of social work amongst relevant ministry officials.
  • Increased awareness, understanding and perceived value of social work amongst the general public Increased awareness, understanding and perceived value of social work amongst civil society organisations.

5: Holistic Family Preservation Model

Long term outcome:

Awareness of the importance of family based care and the most effective innovations lead to preventing separation of families and providing family-based care alternatives.

Intermediate outcomes:

  • Identify statutory services (i.e. Health and Education) required to prevent family separation identified.
  • Effective referral system in place within pilot project linking village, commune, and provincial level.
  • Reduced child-family separation in pilot areas.
  • Replication and scalability of services required to prevent family separation.
  • Identified effective messaging/education campaign.

6: Family Child Vulnerability Index

Long term outcome:

Timely and high quality data on vulnerable children and families available enabling service providers to identify, support and strengthen well-being of at risk families, including reduction in unnecessary child-family separation.

Intermediate outcomes:

  • Identification of a core set of indicators that are shown to lead to increased vulnerability to risks, including possible family separation (it will take into account protective factors that decrease vulnerability) based on contextualized and empirical evidence for national/program use.

7: Case Management System

Long term outcome:

Timely and high quality data on vulnerable children available.

Intermediate outcomes:

  • Organizations start sharing data with each other using CMS based on privacy and information security protocols.
  • Case files regularly reviewed and updated.
  • Data from CMS used to effectively monitor vulnerable chlidren and youth and direct to relevant services.

8: Assessment of RCI’s Capacity

Long term outcome:

  • RCI directors and staff, key community members and donors/potential donors accept that family-based care is better than residential care.
  • The most effective innovations are replicated and scaled up to reach more children and families in need of protective services.

Intermediate outcomes:

  • Establishing, supporting and enhancing proper procedures for RCI directors to transition out of RCIs and safely reintegrate or place children in family-based alternative care.
  • Increased awareness among RCI leadership of the benefits and viability of transitioning to an alternative care facilitation model.
  • RCI staff in transition willing and able to transition out of RCIs.
  • Social workers are more capable to help provide children with alternative care options and ensure their safety from exploitation before, during, and after family reunification.
  • Increased awareness and involvement of key people in community and their own to provide safety to children and youth in community.

9: Influencing existing funding

Long term outcome:

  • RCI directors and staff, key community members and donors/potential donors accept that family-based care is better than residential care.
  • The most effective innovations are replicated and scaled up to reach more children and families in need of protective services.

Intermediate outcomes:

  • Increased donor/potential donor awareness about the negative impact of long-term institutionalization of children.

10: Investing in Innovation

Long term outcome:

  • RCI directors and staff, key community members and donors/potential donors accept that family-based care is better than residential care.
  • The most effective innovations are replicated and scaled up to reach more children and families in need of protective services.

Intermediate outcomes:

  • Enhanced understanding of best approaches to reintegrating and placing children in alternative care programs and how to effectively scale and strengthen them in the future.
  • Establishing and enhancing the understanding of scalable SOPs to reintegrating and placing children in alternative care programs.

11: Alternative Care Panel

Long term outcome:

Vulnerable children are safely placed in family-based care.

Intermediate outcomes:

  • Enhanced MoSVY capacity to create a functioning alternative care panel to implement permanency planning based on compliance to national and international protection standards and guidelines.
  • Enhanced community perceptions on practices of adoption and the importance of adopting via good and regular practices to ensure the rights of the child are upheld.

FCF initial partners are excited to build the base of support to include others who want to join the effort to put family care first. USAID and GHR have since put forward seed funds needed to develop and support a series of co-designed “pilot, learn and scale” grants as well as to catalyze the creation of a platform for multi-sectoral collaboration. There are opportunities at every level for partner engagement, including:


  • Resource partners looking to increase their leverage and overall impact through pooled investment in cross-sector collaboration and shared solutions.
  • Experts in measurement, evaluation, research and learning interested in helping to develop the evidence base needed to inform systems level change and measure population level impact.
  • Local stakeholders willing to contribute individual assets and adapt behavior as needed to achieve a shared vision for change.

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