General Secretariat

Protecting Children and Uniting Families Across Borders for 97 years

Children with disabilities in Institutional Care

Project presentation

During its field missions, ISS has observed that many children with disabilities around the world grow up in institutional care, without being offered any other form of alternative care. Some of them could still reintegrate their family if the appropriate measures were taken (family support, free access to care, respite care, etc.). Others could be cared by a foster or adoptive family in their country, or abroad if it is not possible locally.

The International Social Service (ISS) assists the governments of the countries in need for help on this topic, so as to respect the fundamental right that has each child to grow up in a suitable environment.

Project steps

ISS is working in collaboration with Child Protection Authorities in partner countries to reach the following objectives:

  • Help professionals caring for children with disabilities in institution to better understand and take into consideration the needs of children with disabilities to improve daily care
  • Promote and encourage a systematic evaluation of children with disabilities in institutional care
  • Elaborate a permanent family life project for every child, whatever his/her health is
  • Encourage and accompany competent authorities to develop alternatives to institutional care for the children with disabilities
  • Ensure the continued existence of the project through local partners’ identification, training and follow-up

In the context of this project, ISS has designed two innovative practical tools:

Partner countries

We are currently working with the governments of Vietnam, Cambodia, Mauritius, Burkina Faso, Mexico and we will launch the project in Ecuador in 2018.

Discussion soon to be initiated with Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.

Handbook for the use of professionals

It offers:

  • A method and procedures to support political authorities and field actors involved in designing a family life plan for every child in institution
  • Practical tools for those professionals in charge of children with disabilities (grids for the observation of the child, guidance on the preparation of the child to his/her new environment, etc.)
  • Recommendations for the promotion and establishment of alternatives to institutional care for the children with disabilities (prevention of abandonment, support programs for families, foster care services, promotion of domestic adoption, etc.)

Lifebook for every child living in an Institution

It offers a child friendly way to collect all relevant information relating to the life story of the child:

  • the main stages of his/her development and progress,
  • is/her life in the institution and childhood memories.

This lifebook is also an innovating tool intended for professionals.


  • Children with disabilities living in institutional care in partner countries and, generally all children living in institutions, will benefit from ISS measures and tools
  • Institutions’ staff involved in the project
  • Professionals specialized in childhood protection and future trainers
  • Competent authorities engaged in child welfare


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Handbook for professionals

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