Identifying and Addressing Risk in the Implementation of Alternative Care Policies in Cambodia

  • Patricia Fronek
  • Robert Common
  • Karen Smith Rotabi
  • Johnny Statham


Propelled by a commitment to the rights of children, Cambodia is moving forward with family-based alternative care initiatives that build on existing efforts to strengthen the child protection system. This short human rights in action article take a critical approach to the translation of policy to practice and highlights risks involved with haste, outcomes measured in numbers and unrealistic timeframes, and rapidly transforming practice with nascent investment in a country’s capacity to assess and respond to the real needs of children and families within their communities. The importance of continuing collaboration between government and civil society, building workforce capacity and gatekeeping initiatives is discussed as essential to address challenges while strengthening responses to vulnerable children and families. We conclude that less haste and more capacity building are important to mitigate against risk and make eight recommendations supported by collaborations between government and civil society to strengthen the system.


Child rights Reintegration Alternative care Cambodia 



The authors would like to acknowledge the dedication of those workers from Save the Children Cambodia who were tragically killed during the writing of this paper. They worked tirelessly with Cambodian children and their families and will be remembered.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Human Services and Social Work, Law Futures Research CentreGriffith University, Gold Coast CampusSouthportAustralia
  2. 2.Child Protection, Family Care FirstSave the ChildrenPhnom PenhCambodia
  3. 3.Department of Social WorkCalifornia State UniversityMonterey BayUSA
  4. 4.General Social Care Council and Save the ChildrenPhnom PenhCambodia

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