Save the Children Malawi is set to implement a child reintegration project as a way of decongesting Child Protection Institutions (CCI) in Blantyre District in the wake of Covid-19.

Save the Children Child Protection Coordinator, Daisy Chitimbe told the District’s Protection Cluster Committee on Friday that the project would target all the 36 CCIs the district has.

She said with support from United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), they mainly plan to follow up on children that were re-integrated to their families when the pandemic had first been recorded in the country as the processes were done in a hurry due to panic by relevant authorities.

“We are requesting all the CCIs to provide names of children whose re-integration processes were rushed or not properly done. We want to really establish whether they really qualified to be reintegrated so that all the necessary procedures are followed and are provided with starter package which includes blankets and soap,” Chitimbe added.

Blantyre District Social Welfare Officer (DSWO), Stephano Joseph emphasized the need for both the targeted children as well as parents to go through psyco-social support and provided with basic needs in order to prepare both the child and their families to avoid jeopardising the children’s future.

He said before reintegration, there are steps that need to be followed as per government guidelines but faulted the CCIs for bypassing his office in such processes, a thing he described as unfortunate.

The DSWO added that “Before reintegration, there is need for full information for child’s full assessment, early learning standards, development scale, child care plan, full family tracing and assessment, child move as well as follow-up monitoring and evaluation.

“Unfortunately, most of the CCIs do not follow these procedures and they go ahead without the social welfare office. To make matters worse, the children are not provided with necessary basic needs. As a result some of the children, especially from the ultra-poor households end up going to the streets in search for a better life, which is a risk,” he explained.

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