While every child needs love, safety, and nurturing care, the context for providing this care can vary greatly depending on many different factors. Gatekeeping is an essential tool in diverting children from unnecessary initial entry into alternative care, and reducing the numbers of children entering institutions.
Gatekeeping is the process of assessing whether reunification is possible and appropriate, and if not, what form of alternative care is best given an individual child’s particular situation. For children residing in large scale residential care, every effort should be made to transition to family care or, if this is not possible, high-quality “family-like” small group homes. The best way to serve vulnerable children is to strengthen the capacity of families to care for them.