Current Environment:

Repatriation & Integration of Children from Formerly ISIS-Controlled Territories | Overview

There are approximately 12,000 women and children who have spent time in formerly ISIS-controlled territories. These children have experienced widespread trauma, including violence exposure, food deprivation, unsanitary and dangerous living conditions, and traumatic loss. The vast majority remain in camps in northern Syria in inhumane conditions; a small number have returned to their countries of ethnic origin. As more children and parents return to their homelands, there is an urgent need to support their successful integration.

R&R Multidisciplinary Expert Resource Group

In February 2020, Heidi Ellis, Stevan Weine, and Eric Rosand co-founded a Multidisciplinary Expert Resource Group (MERG) to support the rehabilitation and reintegration of children and families returning from Iraq and Syria. The goal of the MERG is to provide guidance, training, technical assistance, capacity-building, project development, evaluation, and other support to those countries facing the myriad challenges associated with the rehabilitation and reintegration of these individuals. The MERG's focus is primarily on the returning children and, where appropriate, their mothers, as well as the receiving communities.

Capacity building for R&R in Kazakhstan

As of June 2020, the Republic of Kazakhstan has repatriated 611 citizens from the Islamic State, including 447 children, and organized a rehabilitation and reintegration (R&R) program which includes 16 regional, community-based centers. This capacity-building program, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of State and co-directed by Stevan (UIC) and Ellis, aims to build national and local government and civil society capacity for sustained implementation of community-based R&R of returning families. Through community-based, multidisciplinary approaches, this program targets frontline practitioners, managers, and governmental, civil society, and academic leaders in Kazakhstan who work with returnees to build capacities for providing psychosocial support, bolstering community preparedness, and promoting reintegration into the community. It also aims to develop an in-country platform to oversee the long-term implementation of community-based R&R in Kazakhstan and to advance best practices of R&R in and beyond Kazakhstan.

Further reading on R&R