As a communications major, when I think about what area of religion and spirituality in social work practice is the most relevant to my area of emphasis my mind immediately goes to the research and crisis intervention sector; specifically, the social injustice of child soldiers and the rehabilitation methods used in integrating them back into society stably. Within the social work field there are numerous methodologies and ideas concerning how to integrate religion and spirituality into the rehabilitation of children that have engaged personally in the battlefront of war. In this research paper I hope to provide an explanation as to what child soldiers are, what spiritual and religious guidance can do for them, and how social workers can implement certain methods into their practices with these children. My goal is to answer the question of how do social workers integrate spirituality and religion into their everyday practices with children of such horrific backgrounds.
Before going further with the implications social workers can have on affecting a child soldier’s future life path I feel that it is pivotal to explain what exactly qualifies a person as a child soldier. The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers ( The Paris Principles, 2007) defines children soldiers as both male and female children who are engaging in regular and irregular armed forces or regimes. In accordance with this definition it can be found that the following are all examples of what a child soldier could entail:
According to CSI (The Paris Principles, 2007) tasks include participation in combat, laying mines and
explosives; scouting, spying, acting as decoys, couriers or guards; training, drill or other
preparations; logistics and support functions, portering, cooking and domestic labor; and
sexual slavery or other recruitment for sexual purposes.
This information provides evidence that children soldiers aren’t seen as innocent, developing youth instead they are viewed simply as humans capable of coming face to face with things like death and rape. The list above illustrates the most common aspects a child soldier might face in combination or alone.
As these children witness, participate, or are victim to these various cruelties their developing minds are being skewed and their emotional state is being tarnished. No longer do they see the world the way a child does; they instead see it in the way an adult soldier, post-war, views the world. There is also a high possibility that the child may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Per the Mayo Clinic, PTSD can be defined as “a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event,” (2014). Due to the fact that there is such a severe amount of traumatization that a child soldier can face during their time in the war it only makes...