2009 Indonesia: Children and the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami: UNICEF's Response in Indonesia (2005-2008) CHILD PROTECTION
Child Protection Program overview
In the aftermath of the tsunami, the Child Protection Program in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam (NAD) focused on registration and reunification of separated children, psychosocial activities, and protection from abuse, violence, and exploitation. These program components were initially implemented through 19 children‘s centers that were established in NAD during the first six months of the emergency response (January-June 2005) and 2 in Nias to facilitate child protection responses. An Inter-Agency Tracing Network composed of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), UNICEF and the NAD Office of Social Welfare (DINAS SOSIAL) used the centers to help identify close to 3,000 separated and unaccompanied children, and reunite nearly 2,500 of them with relatives and known neighbors. The centers were also used to provide rudimentary psychosocial support—play, sports, cultural activities, and peer exchanges—to some 17,000 girls and boys. Following the Aceh Peace Agreement of August 2005 between the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), the Child Protection Program broadened its scope to include support for children and youth previously affected by the 29 year conflict. This proved difficult as the majority of emergency funding was dedicated by donors for tsunami-affected areas.
By mid-2005, UNICEF and NGO members of the Child Protection Working Group began to mainstream child protection as a key policy issue in the social agenda of the Government. UNICEF‘s protective environment strategy1 was adopted to promote the social welfare and juvenile justice systems, and to also expand programmatic coverage to include children and youth in post-conflict areas. These efforts resulted in the creation of the Child Protection Secretariat (CPS), under the Provincial Office of Social Welfare (DINAS SOSIAL), to help to coordinate the many child protection actors working in NAD, including: the progressive placement of 240 social workers in sub-districts; the evolution of children‘s centers to social service welfare centers (Puspelkessos) in sub-districts to provide a wider array of services; the establishment of new child protection bodies (LPA) in sub districts; youth forums in all districts and a youth coordinating council at the provincial level to promote peace building; psychosocial support and peace building programs in 90 schools (in both elementary and senior high); integrated service centers (PPT) for abuse and exploitation victims in the province as well as scaling up at district level; children‘s desks in all district police offices; child-friendly legal procedures and ―diversion‖ programs throughout the province; and a separate children‘s court in three districts (Banda Aceh, Aceh Tengah and Locksewuame).
In 2008, the progression towards fulfilment of commitments to child rights continued: provincial-level financial allocations to child protection and social welfare activities have increased in consecutive years; a new government supported university social work program was launched in July 2008; a new Provincial Action Plan on Anti- Trafficking was approved, and new provincial Child Protection Legislation was approved by Parliament. Progress in creating child protection networks at the district, sub-district, and village levels was also achieved—albeit with considerable variance and results. By the end of 2008, the technical capacities of government actors to inform and sustain these impressive gains were being debated as international agencies considered their final exit strategies.
More than three years after the tsunami, there is now a need to examine the overall impact of the response on children.
The evaluation aimed at determining the impact of UNICEF response to the tsunami within the child protection sector and draw lessons learned and recommendations that will be useful for both the recovery/transition and on-going development programming and policies to improve the well-being and rights of children and women.
It seeks to achieve three inter-related objectives:
- Provide an outcome-impact analysis of the child protection program (2005-2008) in NAD
- Examine DAC evaluation criteria as applied to the child protection sector
- Provide evidence-based conclusions, lessons learned and recommendations.
This independent evaluation commissioned by UNICEF follows the evolution of three child protection work strands—children without family care, psychosocial support, and exploitation and abuse—through the different phases of their development and examines the extent to which child protection results were achieved. Six cross-cutting issues such as advocacy, policy, and coordination and capacity development of the child protection system, are examined.
A major evaluation design component was to compare different interventions with one another—or, where a similar program did not exist, to groups of children who did not receive the intervention. One key comparison focused on children without family care and examined their well-being outcomes as per different kinds of placements. A second key comparison focused on abuse and exploitation. It examined the experiences of children in conflict with the law who were served through ―new‖ (PPA) and ―old‖ law enforcement-justice models and child and female victims of violence and abuse served through new (PPT) and old service models. A third area of comparison focused on mental health and psychosocial programs. The mental health evaluation compared patient and caretaker outcomes before and after programmatic interventions. The psychosocial evaluation compared the psychosocial well-being of children who received program-sponsored psychosocial assistance with children who did not.
The evaluation employed a sequential mixed methods approach in an effort to combine comprehensive coverage with in-depth analysis. It focused on three districts—Banda Aceh, Aceh Barat and Bireun— to enable for comparison of results between tsunami and conflict (mainly) affected districts, which allowed for comparisons between those areas with a strong operational UNICEF presence and those areas with less.
Main findings The evaluation found that rudimentary emergency responses launched in 2005 have evolved into substantial protective systems for children in tsunami-affected areas of NAD in 2008. The emergence of this substantial child protection system is in large part due to early linkage of the dual objectives of responding to immediate needs of vulnerable groups of children and welfare and legal systems-building for all children.
Child Protection systems advances are being achieved and sustained
Early response tracing and reunification and safe space programs paved the way for:
- New child care and placement policies and practices
- Favorable shift in government policy away from financial support for orphanages only to substantial support of livelihoods to prevent child-family separations
- New government-civil society partnerships to provide integrated social services at sub-district level
- Emerging professional social service staff: 240 TKSK covering 215 sub-districts paid under the provincial parliament budget
- New university-based school of social work—human resource development
- Passage of the Child Protection Qanun
Government budgetary commitments to child protection programs greatly increased after the tsunami and continue to grow. The NAD budget for child protection and social welfare programs has increased by 912 percent, from around 2.5 million Rp in 2006 to just over 20 million Rp in 2009. Part of this increase can be explained by government decentralization, which allowed NAD to directly benefit from oil proceeds in 2007.
The exploitation and abuse work strand evolved into an innovative Juvenile Justice Program
Basic steps taken in the aftermath of the tsunami to prevent exploitation and abuse were especially fruitful. They not only provided immediate protection but also have evolved into a much needed justice program. During the emergency phase, police helped to protect children by patrolling exit points (airports, ports) and in crowded living areas such as camps. Subsequent interactions between child protection actors and police created new entry points to strengthen the juvenile justice system in NAD, including the establishment of women and children police units in all district police offices. A group of committed local officers emerged jointly with other key law enforcers and together with UNICEF and NGO staff formed a diversion and restorative justice program ―working group‖ to support this stellar program exemplar. NAD now has one of the most innovative restorative justice programs in Indonesia.
Considerable advances are evident in a comparison of results from before and afterthe Pelayanan Perempuan fsn Anak-Service Unit for Women and Children (PPA). There was proven to be a 16 percent improvement in the professional treatment of the child (84 to 100 percent); a remarkable 80 percent improvement in the use of a private room for questioning (0 to 80 percent); 66 percent more children have a lawyer or NGO representative present during questioning (8 to 76 percent); and there has been 92 percent greater uptake in use of a non-formal justice means to resolve a problem (4 to 96 percent).
The Victim of Violence Program is providing a higher standard of care than previous efforts
A program to respond to victims of violence and abuse is evolving and achieving significant results. Before the existence of the Pusat Pelayanan Terpadu-Integrated Service Center (PPT) 80 percent of incident were documented by an officer in charge, after the PPT only 7 percent of incidents were not documented, a 13 percent improvement. Other improvements substantiating a higher level of care is being received as a result of the PPT include: 100 percent of all victims now receive a medical report that is submitted to the court (a 13 percent increase post-PPT); there was a 46 percent increase in the purpose of the interview being explained (7 to 53 percent post-PPT); and there was radical improvement (67 percent) in follow-up monitoring of cases, up from 0 percent pre-PPT. Privacy was also shown to continue to be maintained during the interview at 100 percent.
The Family tracing and reunification program was effective but limited in scope
The interagency FTR program successfully reunited over 80 percent of its caseload with families. However, it only reached 17 percent of the estimated2 total number of separated children. The evaluation found that the traditional ―separated, unaccompanied, and orphaned‖ categorization employed globally was not a helpful guide to vulnerability in NAD. Many separated or orphaned children were spontaneously fostered by extended family and factors other than separation, such as income, shelter, and security were also important in children‘s exposure to protection risks.
Finally, the evaluation found comparatively poor outcome/impact results from stand alone projects that were not adequately linked to traditional, community, and/or sub-district/district mechanisms. This is most apparent in comparisons of the evolving protective environment systems in Aceh Barat (with significant agency and donor involvement) with the ad hoc, non-systems grounded projects implemented for children in Bireun (a mainly conflict-affected district with less NGO and donor involvement). Overall, protective systems for children in conflict-only affected districts of NAD are less advanced than those in tsunami-affected districts.
To the Government of Indonesia and Partners
Ensure that all components of the child protective systems continue to develop: Provincial and national government actors should take pride in the notable progress achieved towards the creation of a protective environment for children in NAD. A further step towards professionalization of this field of practice would be to promote effective regulation and oversight to ensure standards are upheld at all levels and across all sectors. Currently, DINAS may be the only agency with the means, authority and responsibility to ensure the overall working of the child protective system.
Strengthen Public-Civil Society Partnerships: DINAS SOSIAL should ensure that the Puspelkessos initiative (public and civil society partnership) concept becomes fully operational. In order for this to occur, Puspelkessos must establish standard operation procedures including formal plans that outline how they will engage communities. Subdistrict level social workers (employed by the government) are critical to this process. Community engagement and referral mechanisms should be prioritized and sufficiently funded in order for Puspelkessos to reach their full potential and not remain center-based.
Strengthen the PPT and PPA Programs: Continued support and expansion of the PPT program is clearly warranted. It is important to consult with national standards in this field and determine how the current program can include important health components. Specifically, all health workers based in Puskesmas need to be trained and supported to identify and refer victims of violence, abuse and neglect during clinical intakes and health screenings. The inclusion of health clinics and health workers in efforts to combat domestic violence and abuse would be an important addition to this emerging good practice exemplar. And, last but not least, is the importance of properly linking to not only health workers, but to the rest of service providers (social workers, teachers and police officers) as well.
The same is true for the PPA program. Lessons learned from the Banda Aceh and Aceh Barat programs could usefully be shared with actors in other districts. Successful rollout appears to be tied to active technical assistance—and government actors and UNICEF should ensure this critical function takes place. In this regards, the Working Group on Restorative Justice should be supported to engage in this important process, especially at the district and sub-district levels. The roll-out program should both strengthen existing programs ands also build a continuum of prevention and responsive services, including early intervention, child protective services, and family based alternative care for child victims of violence and children in conflict with the law.
Translate the provincial Child Protection Qanun into a plan of action: In order to ensure that this important provincial legislation becomes fully operational, the government needs to ensure that the Child Protection Qanun is translated into action plans with appropriate district-level budgets. High level technical support for this critical process along with civil society involvement is a key requirement.
Initiate universal birth registration procedures: While there is high level commitment to universal birth registration by 2011 at the national level, NAD has been slow to initiate programs to comply with this important policy directive. In moving forward to realize this important child right the government may want to review two important pilot projects launched in other provinces—one in an urban area and one in a rural area—that moved birth registration compliance from 25 percent to 75 percent in one year.
Improve child protection data collection, analysis and dissemination: NAD does not possess a data collection system capable of providing accurate and timely information on key child protection and social welfare concerns. The lack of timely and accurate data undermines efforts to effectively target child protection funding and assistance; keep abreast of child rights trends; promote informed advocacy; and establish evidence regarding successful interventions. As a first step towards the development of a comprehensive child protection information system, it would be useful to engage a competent agency to undertake a comprehensive mapping exercise of the existing information system.
To UNICEF-Indonesia and Partners
Upgrade child protection capacity in NAD in order to continue to provide the NAD government with critically needed technical support for the next three years:
The government‘s evolving ownership of the Child Protection Program is evident by its strengthened coordinating structures, new policy developments and increasing budget allocation for child protection activities. Nonetheless, the Child Protection Program is still nascent and vulnerable to set backs. UNICEF should strongly reconsider its serious downsizing of the protection sector in NAD as current staffing is inadequate to meet technical assistance needs required to continue to strengthen the child protection systems in NAD. Secondment of technical staff within DINAS SOSIAL should also be considered.
Ensure the protection sector is included in future program planning and policy development activities:
To avoid child protection support misjudgments in the future, it is recommended that the protection unit be fully engaged in subsequent decision-making activities and that senior protection officers be included in subsequent ―all sector‖ assessments and evaluations.
Promote a systems-building approach to emergency preparedness nationally:
There is considerable evidence to suggest that countries with well established child protective systems are better able to respond to the stressors that accompany sudden onset emergencies, such as earthquakes, floods, and, volcanic eruptions, and UNICEF-Jakarta is well positioned to champion disaster preparedness through the lens of child protection systems development. Use of lessons learned in NAD would be most helpful.
To UNICEF-Global and Partners
Promote child protection systems as a key concept in the humanitarian sector:
The tsunami responses in both Indonesia and Sri Lanka offer important insights into how rudimentary emergency response activities evolved into substantial protective systems over a relatively brief period of time. These experiences suggest that by entering the protective environment paradigm through the narrow focus of an emergency response it appears to be possible to jump start protective system‘s advances. UNICEF could study these lessons critically and increase its global commitment to building or strengthening child protection systems in emergencies.
Commitment to child protection systems building will require rethinking emergency polices and practices:
Increased commitment to strengthening child protection systems in emergencies will be accompanied by the need to rethink emergency response policy and practices, including how UNICEF and other child protection agencies: 1) understand core commitments to child protection in emergencies, 2) design and implement emergency assessments, 3) plan and implement emergency programs, 4) anticipate required funding from amount and duration perspectives, 5) use advocacy in humanitarian emergencies, 6) train and orient emergency staff, 7) approach early recovery and re-development work, and 8) approach child protection research and evaluations.
Promote a skills-based capacity building initiative for child protection actors:
New methodologies are now being employed to both establish prevalence rates on key child protection concerns, as well as engage affected populations in identifying what risk and resilience means in a given culture and a given crisis. UNICEF could usefully engage with competent methodologists to promote a skills-based initiative for child protection officers and staff. Emergency standby roster workshops could be arranged, regional learning initiatives promoted, and distance training packages developed.
Lessons Learned and Conclusion:
The tsunami experience suggests that child protection actors are able to promote rudimentary elements of a child protective system by ensuring that ongoing service provision is built on approaches and elements already in place or under developed. The dual objectives of responding to immediate needs and systems-building can be seen as two work strands which are complementary and where work on the second systems-building objective can be seen as an incremental process running simultaneously to emergency assistance provision.
A significant challenge is to navigate the balance in investment between these two work strands so that attention to the immediate and pressing protection needs of especially vulnerable children is not diminished. In NAD, putting clear parameters around emergency response objectives—and building upon these objectives with child, family welfare, and legal systems in mind—were two key sequential steps in keeping a clear focus and achievable goals as the child protection sector progressed through emergency-to-early recovery-to re-development phases.
Capacity building became more essential as child protection agencies reoriented themselves towards systems building. During this transition, the need to push for systemic level changes and policy development in a concerted way and, at the same time, working on changing traditional attitudes and practices that were not supportive or even harmful to children, became increasingly apparent. Capacity building of the people and institutions who play key roles in a protective environment for children—including parents, community and social workers, policy makers, and government officials—is essential to systems building but represent an under-developed area of child protection in emergencies.
Protective systems for children are national in scope and thus require active government involvement, ownership, and responsibility. In NAD, protective systems are composed of essential elements, processes, and activities at the levels of the child, family, and community on the one hand and at the sub-district-district and provincial on the other. Building linkages between these different levels of the protective environment is a key objective.
A key lesson learned is that an effective protection environment program must be a shared priority between emergency and development actors, including the government, UN, NGO, and donor communities and dialogues on transitions to development need to take place during the emergency phase.
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