Strengthening Community Systems for Child Protection (SCSCP) in Cambodia
The project aims to ensure children in target communes in Cambodia can access care and protection in communities. It seeks to increase knowledge and application of positive parenting techniques, social work support to families, and to strengthen child protection mechanisms.
The UNCRC Committee expressed concern ‘at the high rate of children reporting lack of care, attention and warmth from their parents’ in Cambodia. It shared concerns on domestic violence against women and children remaining an acute problem and recommended that Cambodia strengthen its child protection system. In 2007, the Cambodian government mandated the Commune Committees for Women and Children (CCWC) to function as a community based child protection mechanism, but they lack knowledge, capacity and resources. Furthermore, District Social Affairs Departments are poorly staffed and existing social workers spend limited time in communities and are largely ineffective in supporting prevention, early intervention and case management to ensure care and protection of children.
To address these challenges, the project aims to ensure that all children in the target communes have access to care and protection in the community. Project objectives over four years and associated year-two activities are:
1. At least 2340 children, mostly marginalised and disadvantaged, in Prey Veng province, benefit from an increase in
knowledge and application of positive parenting techniques by their parents/caregivers. Activities include trained Village Volunteers providing positive parenting skills training to parents/caregivers and holding monthly Parent Group meetings to discuss application and challenges of these skills. They will also conduct awareness-raising on positive parenting and related child protection issues in the wider community.
2. At least 3960 children benefit from an increase in social work support to families.
Activities include project-trained Community Social Workers (CSW) in each commune working with the CCWCs to respond to child protection needs; receiving technical support and supervision from Social Services of Cambodia; accepting referrals from community stakeholders; meeting children, assessing their needs, problems and strengths, making plans to assure their safety, and helping them recover from abuse they have experienced, by providing counselling and referral to medical and justice systems. CSWs report monthly to CCWC about number, types and outcomes of cases they have assisted.
3. Child protection mechanisms in 13 target communes are strengthened to prevent and respond to all forms of violence against children.
Activities focus on raising awareness with Government on the project model to develop ownership and support from the commune to national levels. Small grants of up to $1,000 will be provided to 8 CCWCs to support local child protection mechanisms, to build an evidence base about cost of community based child protection mechanisms, and to advocate for increased government funds. Field visits and quarterly meetings with representatives from Government will focus on the long term support for CSW, potential scaling up of this model, and the need for legislative change on violence against children. Quarterly meetings with provincial and district level WCCCs with CCWCs will share information, and address problems beyond the capacity of the CCWC. SC will also use this project to advocate in various national networks and technical working groups. The project promotes the equal participation of female and males in its activities e.g. including mothers and fathers in training and parent groups to improve their involvement and skills. The project considers disability by increasing focus and emphasis on disability inclusion, and working with local disability organisations e.g. all information materials and sessions are accessible to people regardless of their abilities/disabilities.