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International Project: Children with Disabilities

ISS Australia’s Manager, NSW Office / ICA Service, Damon Martin is proud to be leading a UNICEF-funded project in Cambodia. This project began in 2016 with a Needs Assessment Mission which resulted in an extensive report with recommendations to enhance alternative care opportunities for children with disabilities (CWD) in Cambodia. The report also included a foreword and endorsement from Minister Vong Sauth, Cambodia’s Minister of Social Affairs. The report can be downloaded here.
In February 2018, ISS Australia assembled a global team of CWD experts to travel to Cambodia to conduct the following:

  • A ‘Train the Trainer’ training to 13 selected Cambodian National Trainers (Government and NGO professionals), so they could in turn provide training to carers in institutions to provide better care for CWD. The training consisted of 3 main components, Social Work, Feeding and Nutrition, and Stimulation.
  • A Workshop to develop a strategic plan to implement Small Group Homes for CWD
  • A Workshop to develop a technical guidance document outlining the methodology to implement foster care for CWD

A subsequent Programme Cooperation Agreement (PCA) was developed in July 2018 with UNICEF Cambodia to continue implementing recommendations from ISS Australia’s Report. It was agreed the following activities would be implemented from June 2018 to December 2018:

  1. Development of a data collection template for CWD living in RCI, Foster Care and Small Group Homes
  2. Standard Operating Procedures for establishment of Small Group Homes
  3. Facilitate a Study Tour for the establishment of Small Group Homes
  4. Analyse and document lessons learnt, challenges and further training needs of the National Trainers
  5. First Follow-up training for National Trainers
  6. Gatekeeping strategies to prevent the placement and abandonment of CWD in RCI
  7. Develop and integrate specific standards for CWD in the kinship care, foster care and domestic adoption programme and implementation handbook being developed by ISS’s General Secretariat

ISS Australia is committed to continuing to improve the lives of CWD in Cambodia. ISS Australia has also developed a formal partnership (MoU) with Feeding and Nutrition experts the SPOON Foundation from Portland, Oregon, in the hope of extending this important project into other Asian and Pacific countries in the years to come.