Returning home: resettlement of formerly abducted children in Northern Uganda


  • This study was made possible through a grant from the Smith College School for Social Work, Clinical Research Institute and the Brown Foundation.

Joanne N. Corbin, Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, MA 01063, USA. E-mail:


This exploratory qualitative study considers the subjective resettlement experiences of children forced into armed conflict in Northern Uganda from the perspectives of 11 former child combatants and 11 adult community members. A thematic analysis was performed on the narrative data. The bioecological model was used to provide a conceptual framework for key themes. Major findings included the overarching impact of ongoing armed conflict on returnees' lives, the important role of the family in supporting children's resettlement, the harassment of former child soldiers by community members, and the community's inability to support systematically the returning children in tangible ways. This study recommends that humanitarian services at all levels strengthen the capacity of families to care for the material and psychoemotional needs of former child soldiers within their communities.