Good practice guide: family-centred HIV programming for children

Good practice guide: family-centred HIV programming for children

Information, strategies and resources for implementing family-centred HIV programming for children

This guide contains information, strategies and resources to help HIV programmers implement family-centred HIV programming for children. Historically, programmes working to meet the needs of children affected by HIV have targeted individual children to provide direct support, sometimes bypassing their family. However, recent evidence suggests that outcomes for children affected by HIV could be improved by working with families as well as individual children. 

The guide examines six common sectors in which interventions are provided for children and their families. These are health, economic strengthening, food and nutrition, education and early childhood development, care and protection, and emotional and psychological support. In each sector, the guide offers ideas about how to implement programmes in a more family-centred way, and illustrates these with case studies of programmes that have started using family-centred approaches.

Conclusions include:

  • a family-centred approach acknowledges that a child’s quality of life is entwined with the life and experience of the family in which they live
  • it is important to assess the possible effects of the community to which a family belongs when programmes are planned in order to build on the positives and the minimise the negatives
  • when developing programmes for children, an adequate assessment should focus on the capacities and needs of all family members rather than looking only at the needs of individual children
  • programme design should support family-centred care of children and reinforce families’ capacities to stay together 
  • programme design should also develop indicators of inputs at the family level and the related impacts for the wellbeing of children 
  • services are most effective when delivered in an integrated way (i.e. providing multiple services together in one place)
  • cross cutting principles and guidance should be applied when planning family-centred care and services for children.