In February this year, Save the Children International put a request to Children in Families, asking that we consider sending a couple of staff members to a conference in Indonesia. The Indonesian government is in the process of setting up and formalising foster care across the country. Save the Children suggested that CIF’s experience in Cambodia might provide some useful lessons learned. So, along with representatives from numerous other parts of the world, CIF headed to Jakarta to speak about the challenges and opportunities involved in family-based care for vulnerable children.
Presenting at a conference in Indonesia
CIF was represented by Chris Ellinger, our Social Work Technical Adviser, and Sokly Phal, a member of our OSCaR System Support Team. Chris presented an overview of CIF’s care programming. He looked at how we recruit and support foster families; how we manage the safety and wellbeing of the children in foster care; and some of the practical, administrative realities of this kind of program. Sokly talked specifically about the ways CIF uses technology to support strong social work, and the importance of good data in tracking kids’ outcomes. We do need to know that we’re actually doing what we say we are!
Sharing experiences and learning from others
The conference was attended by members of the Indonesian Ministry of Social Affairs. As well as hearing from Cambodia, they listened to information about work in Jordan, the UK, and the USA. The trip was valuable for CIF as an organisation too, since experiences from other contexts will inform our own work. As Sokly herself said, “I thought I already knew a lot about foster care from our staff, but after this, I feel like I learned even more!”
And beyond that, CIF is incredibly proud to have the opportunity to give input on the development of the Indonesian system from the beginning. While Cambodia is fairly small country, with a population of about 16 million, Indonesia is much larger. Chris commented that “There are a quarter of a billion people [in Indonesia]. If something we present means that Indonesia starts with a strong system, that has a positive effect on a huge number of children.”
CIF is an organisation that is growing and developing from year to year, and having the chance to reach beyond Cambodia’s borders is an exciting development. Bringing more knowledge back to Cambodia is equally exciting. Seeing more and more people understand the need for children to be in families is the best part of all though, and CIF’s best wishes go with the Indonesian Government as they build this system for the millions of children in their nation.