2010. 13 p.
Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies, 5: 2
Initiatives from the local community have been a major part of what has been provided towards the needs of vulnerable children. A review to identify effective approaches to support community responses identified two key issues: (1) a range of community structures is involved in responding to vulnerable children - these different structures have different characteristics with implications for how to provide support, and the structures' most appropriate roles; and (2) the context of donor funding is changing with increasing emphasis on social protection mechanisms which do not require providing support through community structures, but may introduce new opportunities for community structures. This article discusses the different community-level structures that are responding to the needs of vulnerable children, and how the different forms of community structure contribute most effectively to different approaches to meeting the needs of vulnerable children. The article identifies differences in the use of the terms 'community' and in understanding various community structures. Community initiatives provide support on an informal basis in the local community. Community-based organizations (CBOs) have some formal institutionalization and provide basic services in the local or wider community. Community coordination committees have the function of mobilizing, coordinating and supporting responses within the local or wider community. Different forms of community structure have different strengths and weaknesses, with implications for their most appropriate role. These are explored using education and protection as examples. Community initiatives are good at getting material resources directly through to vulnerable children and their caregivers. Community initiatives may also use their connectivity with vulnerable children to identify those in need of protection or who have yet to access entitlements, while community coordination committees may provide services, for example, to make community members aware of new entitlements.
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