Children with disabilities are particularly vulnerable in humanitarian settings, yet they are often not able to access the services and protection they need. While multiple factors create these barriers, a major cause is how data about children with disabilities is collected and mapped. Data collection processes often exclude or underrepresent the views of children with disabilities and thier caretakers. When the experiences of children with disabilities and their caretakers are not defined and collected, they become excluded from mainstreamed protective services, which are meant to serve all children. Children with disabilities also do not get the specialised interventions they need.
This guidance note explores how to use qualitative methods to create more robust assessment processes to ensure more effective programming and services for children with disabilities. This note provides promising practices for engaging with children with disabilities and includes sample tools that can be tailored to fit the needs of a particular assessment process. The note also explores the importance of thoughtful cross-sectoral responses so that children with disabilities, and their families, are carefully considered in areas like water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), education, health, and nutrition, and therefore receive the holistic support they need and deserve.
This note is intended for a broad audience of relevant child protection actors, including practitioners, coordination groups, researchers, and donors. The information is not limited to one type of humanitarian setting, geographic region, or culture. As a result, the practices and guidance should be adapted to each specific context, ideally in partnership with well-informed local actors, such as representatives from local organisations for persons with disabilities.