A Study of Effective Referral Mechanisms to Strengthen Child and Social Protection in ESAR
It is now widely recognized that a response to vulnerable children, including children affected by HIV, needs to be coherent and inclusive. Service delivery to children, and other groups in society, has largely been fragmented and piece-meal, addressing particular and specific needs and vulnerabilities.
Various sectors supporting child development and protection, including health, education and child protection (often itself in vertical programmes, such as 'street children' or children in alternative care, for example), have largely been operating in separate silos with little coordination of efforts or initiatives. An increasing body of research and evaluations have made it evident that children's needs and vulnerabilities are not delineated by clear sectoral lines but strongly overlap and interact, therefore needing a systems approach. Such as system needs to include children, family, community and state, operating at all levels.
Despite the recognition of the importance of making the shift from fragmented service delivery to a systems response, little evidence is available about what works in which context and how. Experiences with respect to cross-sectoral referrals are new and sketchy and an overview is currently missing. This study aims to fill this gap by collecting those experiences and drawing lessons learnt and recommendations for future work. Furthermore, it seeks to provide guidance to future initiatives by making the concepts of case management and referral systems clearer and more tangible within the ESAR child protection and social protection context. Finally, a strategic outlook is provided on how to take investments into case management and referral systems forward to shape an adequate and appropriate response to children affected by HIV and AIDS.