A deep sense of isolation characterized by a lack of spontaneous community formation has been noted by the mission: children do not play together, adolescents do not gather, and many families remain confined to their residences with little or no contact with the outside.
Outreach needs to be improved in all programmes. The establishment of community centers as locations for counseling and assistance is important, but insufficient without outreach to identify the most needy and vulnerable. Further, there must be an effort to design innovative ways of making psychosocial and mental health counseling available while building local capacity to do so over the longer term.
Recommendations for operational response
In this section, the four key findings described above are expanded into suggestions for programming. These suggestions for programming are briefly outlined as a first step in developing more comprehensive program proposals. The four key findings also have other related implications. For example, the installation of an outreach and comprehensive case management system will help to locate and serve unaccompanied and separated children; appropriate needs and services can be identified and addressed through community centers; community formation will be possible when individuals and families come out of isolation and inquire about the needs of their neighbors.
Unaccompanied and Separated Children
Unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) need specialized attention and support from protection agencies. The terms ‘child’ or ‘children’ refer to any person under the age of 18. Particular care must be taken to avoid the assumption that adolescents (13-17 year olds) do not need as much assistance as younger children. However, care must be delivered in ways that are appropriate to their age.
Unaccompanied children are those who have been separated from both parents and other relatives and are not being cared for by an adult who, by law or custom, is responsible for doing so.
Separated children ate those separated from both parents, or from their previous legal and customary care-giver, but not necessarily from other adult family members.25
As of 15 November 2007, UNHCR had identified 123 Iraqi UASC that have been taken under their protection. UASC require comprehensive case management to ensure their well-being and protection. A Best Interest Determination (BID) process is required for each child. This is a time-intensive process. Care arrangements also need to be found and regularly monitored and psychosocial services are almost always needed to help children deal with the separation from their parents. In Jordan, other than UNHCR, only Questscope and ICRC have any specialized experience in dealing with these children.
Inter-agency Guiding Principles on UASC, July 2006.
Report of the ICMC / USCCB Mission – Protection Needs in Jordan