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The Alternative Care Unit (ACU) was set up in July 2018 and is responsible for the rehabilitation aspect of  children placed in Residential Care Institutions (RCIs)/ shelters under court order, Foster Care System and the Child Mentoring Programme.

The Mission  Statement and Objectives of the ACU:

To design and implement policies and programmes geared towards protecting the rights of children victims of violence and rehabilitating them with a view to providing  continuum of care in Shelters/RCIs, as well as providing  substitute family/alternative care, through the Foster Care Programme and assisting those with mild behavioral problems under Child Mentoring Programme.

The following programmes are being implemented at the level of ACU;

Therefore, the following sections fall under the ACU;






A Back-to-Home Section has been set up in November 2018 to reintegrate children placed in shelters/Residential Care Institutions (RCIs)  into their families/next to kin and foster families.

Contact Details of ACU services:

SNSectionTel. N.Email address
1Alternative Care Unit2063737

4Foster Care
5Child Mentoring Section/Budget/Reporting on Human Rights


 Projects and Programmes implemented by ACU

A. Rehabilitation Programmes catering for (Residential Care Institutions (RCIs)/Shelters)

The Rehabilitation Section caters for the Rehabilitation of Children victims of violence placed in RCIs and their reinsertion into their families/next to kins. These institutions are Charitable Institutions/Non-Governmental Organisations which work in collaboration with the Ministry. The ACU has a mandate to ensure that the institutions are operating within norms and minimum standards for a place of safety and that rehabilitation is undertaken between both the children and their parents with a view to returning them to their family environment. Presently, the Ministry is working with 15 Residential Care Institutions run by NGOs and has 3 Government-owned Centres (Shelters).

The Section comprises of the following:

  • A monitoring team that ensures norms and standards for quality care is maintained
  • Emergency response team  that ensures that all cases of child violence at the level of RCIs/Shelters are attended to.
  • Parental visit team  that ensures biological parents are given visits with their children to encourage bonding for later reinsertion. 

The Services provided by the Rehabilitation Section comprises of:

1. Service de Proximite' to ensure parental visits

Twelve (12) Community Centres & Social Welfare Centres around the island are being used to conduct parental visits to establish bonding of children placed in RCIs with biological families for reinsertion purpose.

2. Prise en Charge of Children Victims of violence placed in Shelters/RCI's under Court Orders-                   

The Ministry accommodates children's victims of violence in 3 Government-owned shelters and 15 RCI's managed by NGO's.

3. Regulations for RCIs-

In October 2019, the Child Protection Act “Place of Safety for the Welfare and Protection of Children" Regulations 2019 was passed to ensure that the norms and standards of the RCIs are met to provide a better continuum of care.

4. Policy Decision for meeting expenditures of Shelters/RCIs-

As per the Government decision the National Corporate Social Responsibility Foundation (NCSRF) has taken the responsibility to incur payment of Capital Grant for RCIs against cross-certification of the ACU. 

5. Capitation Grant-

The government offers a Capitation Grant payable to NGOs for the upkeep and educational needs of children in Residential Institutions.
  6. Emergency kit-

An emergency kit has been provided at the Rehabilitation Section of ACU since October 2018 to provide basic essentials to children victims of abuse at the level of Institution and are admitted in hospitals for medical screening prior to they being placed in a shelter or RCI.

 B.Back-to-Home Section

The Back-to-Home programme work for the re-insertion of Children Victims of Violence, placed in the RCIs, into their own family setting.  The programme ensures proper follow-up and provision of psycho-social support, as well as empowers their parents/relatives to better care for them through referral to services offered by key stakeholders.

The Process for the Re-Integration of residents of Institutions within a family setting

        includes the following:
  • An initial assessment to explore possibilities for re-integration of Minors ;
  • Interviews with parents and relatives to identify and trace prospective parents/ guardians;
  • Regular parental visits conducted to assess the  bonding and interaction between the parents and minor;

  • A full-fledged social enquiry taking into consideration:
  1. The housing condition;
  2. The job and salary of parents;
  3. The basic necessities, such as water, electricity and adequate living space, for the minor and the arrangements for accommodation;
  4. The health issues of the parents;
  5. The results of the mental health screening by the Psychologist;
  6. The psychological assessment of the parents and minors to determine the parental skills of prospective parents/ relatives;
  7. The criminal records of the parents;
  8. Ensure that the perpetrator is not living in the proximity;
  9. In cases of substance abuse, the parents are referred for detoxification programs;
  10. The parents are empowered through appropriate referrals to stakeholders like the Ministry of Social Security, the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, the National Empowerment Fund and specialised NGOs, amongst others.
  • A motion for discharge is made before the respective  District Court Magistrate;
  • A Parenting Capacity Assessment is done by both the Psychologist and Family Welfare and Protection Officer;​
  • A Social Enquiry Report by Probation Officer may also be requested by the District Magistrate;
  • The Post-discharge follow-up includes regular home visits, psychological follow-up, and linking families to appropriate services within the community.

After the discharge of the Minor, the follow-up with parents through visits/phone calls is ensured by the Back-to-Home Officers and Psychologists. Moreover, appropriate referral to relevant stakeholders, for example referrals to the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions, are done for matters of pensions and other financial aid. Other stakeholders are the National Empowerment Foundation, the Ministry of Health and Quality of life, the Ministry of Education, Human Resources and Tertiary Education and Scientific Research, amongst others.


C. Foster Care Programme

The Foster Care System provides an opportunity to children removed under a Court Order  to be placed in institutions and to evolve in a substitute family environment on a temporary basis. The role of the foster parents is to give support to the child and help him to grow physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually.


Procedures to register as Foster Family
  • Fill in application form;
  • Submit documents (such as Birth Certificate, Morality Certificate, Proof of income, Proof of ownership property and Medical Certificate);
  • Application forms are screened at the level of subcommittee of the Foster Care Advisory Committee;
  • Conduct Home Study visit;
  • Psychological assessment; and
  • Recommendations are made at the foster care advisory committee for registration of the applicant as foster parent.

 Criteria to register as Foster Family

  • Applicants have a steady home;
  • Must be aged between 25 to 60 years old;
  • May be married or single;
  • The family should be in good health, emotionally as well as physically;
  • Should have a genuine interest in parenting;
  • Should be willing to help the child to reunite with the child's biological family or moved into an adoptive family when the time comes; and
  • Applicant should have appropriate housing facilities.​

D. Child Mentoring Programme

The Child Mentoring programme was setup in 2009 for children aged between 10 to 16 years with mild behavioral problems to be appropriately screened and matched with trained adult Mentors for a one- to- one relationship of emotional reconstruction.  Meetings and activities  are held on a regular basis (once a week for 2 hrs) between the Mentor and the child, to support the latter's need for a caring and supportive adult in his life.


Minors benefiting from the Child Mentoring Programme should be under the care of a responsible party/ legal guardian or legal next-to-kin, as the latter's consent is required.

The mentoring sessions are usually conducted at the place of residence of the Minor. In the event that same is not appropriate, Social Welfare Centers, Community Centers and Women Centers  are solicited to conduct the Mentoring session.

Aims and Objectives of the Programme: 

  • To help children between the ages 10 to 16 years suffering from mild behavioural problems have a stable future; 
  • To give children with difficulties the opportunity to have the care and guidance from a role model;
  • ​To improve the relationship between children and their parents; and 
  • To cultivate a healthy and trusting relationship between the Mentors and the Mentees to bring about positive changes in the lives of the children.​


Information for Managers of Residential Care Institutions/Shelters
  Do​s & Don’ts that should be adhered with by RCIs/Shelters




The Manager RCI shall:

The Manager RCI shall not:


  •  Open case file upon admission of child in RCIs, keep updated record and ensure access of file to CDU officer.
  •  Monitor and keep records of visitors allowed inside the premises of the institution.
  •  Specify and monitor timings and duration of visits.
  •  Supervise ALL meetings and visits, Management should ensure proper screening of visitors prior to allowing any outside visit.
  •  Make sure all the material, psychosocial and emotional needs of the child are met.
  •  Respect the child’s personal space/privacy within the institution.
  •  Ensure the best interest of the child as a priority under all circumstances.
  •  ​Respect the rights and integrity of the child as stipulated in the Child Protection Act 1994 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  •  Ensure the involvement and participation of the child in the activities of the institution.
  •  Ensure security and safety of the child at all times.
  •  Foster integration of the children within the institution and the society.
  •  Ensure a good quality of services including infrastructural facilities, proper food, clothing, medical care.
  •  Provide educational support and a proper care plan for each resident.
  •  Adopt a multidisciplinary approach; enlist the help and support of professionals.
  •  Recruit qualified and skilled staff. Staffs recruited should comply to all law requirements.
  •  Provide a child to caregiver ratio as established by this Ministry to ensure there is individualized attention to residents.
  •  Immediately report to the Ministry any attempt or request of parents or relatives to meet a child under EPO.
  •  Provide information on child under court orders and placed by the Ministry as and when required.
  •  Provide information on vacant seats at the institution and on the RCI as and when required by the Ministry.
  •  Ensure that every child has access to formal education in accordance with Education Act 2004.
  •  Respect each child’s faith, religious beliefs and dietary habit/restrictions/dietary choices.
  •  Immediately report any major incident to the CDU office for advice, support as appropriate.
  •  Ask managers to delegate relevant officers to attend District Courts to apply for cases of residents in conflict with law (child beyond control), where they are endangering life of other residents or damaging property.
  •  Report to Police immediately in cases where minors are found to be in danger (like perpetrator trying to abduct minor).
  •  Inform schools about precautionary measures to be taken when admitting minors from RCIs.


  • Take any child to a staff/outsider’s residence/parent’s place from where child has been removed.
  • Leave young children unattended or supervised by other children.
  • Use corporal punishment or any other form of harsh punishment.
  • Demean/ humiliate or insult a child under any circumstance.
  • Make racial/ethnic discrimination/harassment against any child.
  • Allow outsiders to enter the premises without permission.
  • Reveal information/data about any child or breach confidentiality to any unauthorized person.
  • Display or broadcast any images, videos or photographs of residents to media/the general public.
  • Misuse any image, video or photographs for any purpose.
  • Allow any person to work as volunteer unless Management is satisfied that he or she can act as such.
  • Incite a child to change his/her religion.
  • Allow alleged perpetrators to visit/contact residents.
  • Allow inappropriate gestures to be made towards residents.
  • Engage /marry any minor.