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Families Not Orphanages

ACT to mobilize the passion, longevity and commitment of faith communities to transform care services for children around the world.

Photo of Amanda Cox

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

At the nexus of Peace, Prosperity and Planet 8 million children in institutions/orphanages around the world, grow up without the love of a family. Evidence demonstrates that these children are more vulnerable to abuse, neglect, depression, and cognitive delays than children raised in families. As young people leaving care, they have to overcome significant disadvantages in order to be successful. Most children housed in "orphanages" are not orphans. 80-90% of children in orphanages have a living parent and studies demonstrate that, with the right support, the vast majority of institutionalized children could be and should be living in families. The number one risk factor for separation of children from their families is poverty. The simple existence of orphanages, the hope that an orphanage will offer an education and the misperception that it could provide better care or opportunities are driving factors to child institutionalization. Communities of all faiths are part of the solution for ensuring children grow up in a loving and safe family environment, so their engagement and collaboration are essential. Informed by our 24 years of experience in developing successful partnerships, our "ACT" project aims to create bridges at national level and across regions, connecting faith based communities with NGOs and government partners, in order to amplify their collective efforts to support children in families, and transition from orphanages to family care. ACT Project will deliver three workstreams: 1. Assessment and preparedness for change for organizations providing orphanage care 2. Collaboration through creating communities of practice 3. Transition from orphanage care models to family and community-based care Hope and Homes for Children, along with partners including the Faith to Action Initiative and others in 3 regions will use the success stories to amplify the voices of faith-based communities and accelerate change for children.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

The beneficiaries to this project include the millions of children trapped in institutional care, marginalized and invisible around the world. We see this project as a piece of a larger puzzle that brings systemic change to these 8 million children and all those who will be prevented from entering the orphanage system. Specific beneficiaries of the ACT project include: 1. The organizations or institutions that will receive technical support as they transform their models of care from orphanages to family based care. These organizations will represent more than one faith tradition. 2. Staff and children living in the specific orphanages that will undergo transition during the project. 3. The family receiving the child as part of the family-based care component. 4. Communities of faith that will benefit by having their voices and successes documented and amplified thus bringing more rapid momentum to the global family-based care movement.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Our idea is unique in that we seek to build a bridge between the traditional "development" community and faith communities (Hindu, Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, etc) often marginalized by governments and secular NGOs. Hope and Homes for Children is not faith-based and yet we recognize and value the important contribution of faith-based organizations and individuals. ACT project seeks to respect and amplify the voices of this significant group of stakeholders in seeking global system change for children. Given that the majority of privately run orphanages around the world are faith-based in organization and/or funding we cannot achieve deinstitutionalization or care reform from the top (government/policy level) down only. Communities of faith will continue to build, run and resource orphanages, unless they feel like they are heard, understood and are an integral part of the reform process. The ACT project uniquely uses existing platforms to amplify the strengths of faith communities.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Prototype: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Our mission is to be the catalyst, in our lifetime, for the global elimination of institutional care for children.

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

Often it takes very little to change hearts and minds because the majority of people motivated by faith have good intentions. However, it is very clear that many organizations need support to take action for transformation and that support, guidance and tools will result in more rapid and high quality care reform. Several of the organizations present in the Presbyterian church training in our attached video have asked for further support. This is just one example of many.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Children form the core of Peace, Prosperity and Planet. A healthy childhood is a key ingredient for becoming a healthy adult that can develop strong conflict resolution skills, develop and maintain relationships, retain jobs that contribute to the economy and develop or create coping mechanisms to live on a rapidly changing planet. Children in institutional care are at such severe risk of violence, abuse and neglect. But children raised in healthy families have better coping mechanisms and people with better coping mechanisms and healthy relationships are better able to contribute to a peaceful society. Children raised in institutions are more likely to drop out of school and have higher rates of incarceration. Children raised in families, with adequate support systems and access to education become adults who can contribute to a prosperous society. Ending the proliferation of orphanages and building resilient families is critical for coping with an ever-changing planet.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

Hope and Homes for Children will operate as the prime for the project, however we plan to work closely with the following partner organizations: 1. The Faith to Action Initiative (US and Global with connections across many diverse faith communities) 2. Transform Alliance Africa (East and Southern Africa across 7 countries) 3. Identity Mission (LAC starting with Honduras) 4. Miracle Foundation (Southern India) There is already commitment from the partners listed above and each is already engaged to some extent with a network of faith communities both on the ground running orphanages or family-based care programmes as well as linked with faith-based donors. Each have the ability to convene large gatherings of stakeholders - both those that run and fund orphanages and those that are in the process of transforming their services or who have already transformed. Brought together these partners can be a catalyst for wide reaching change for children.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

We know that communities of faith are on the front-lines of caring for vulnerable and orphaned children around the world. Faith-based organizations and their employees/volunteers (of any faith) are often motivated not by finances or personal glory but by their belief in a higher power and a "calling." This results in employees or volunteers who remain in their field for a lifetime, sustainable donors and the ability to reach many others of the same faith by amplifying the voice of leaders.

Geographic Focus

US Latin America/Caribbean (LAC) Southern India Sub Saharan East Africa

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

To be determined - 18-36 months likely with a goal to identify funding for expansion and ensuring longevity of the ACT project even beyond the Bridge Builder funding timeframe.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of Vicky S.

Within your general geographic focus, are there certain countries and/or states that you are considering making primary targets for your efforts; based on patterns of need for your services and/or opportunity for expansion?

Photo of Amanda Cox

Hi Vicky, Yes we are looking specifically at Honduras in Latin America because of the government's interest in care reform and a very strong faith-based movement starting towards family based care. We are also looking at Kenya for the same reasons and we have a regional advocacy manager placed there. India is our final specific country because of the high numbers of children institutionalized and an early pilot partnership beginning between a US organization and Indian network of orphanages. Thanks for your question, Amanda

Photo of Courtney null

Hi Amanda. NPH International launched its NPH OneFamily program in Honduras in 2017, reintegrating 44 children with their families during the first year. Given your interest in the country and our shared vision for strengthening families, I'd invite you to check out our proposal and provide feedback if you'd like!

Photo of Amanda Cox

Hi Courtney, what a great overlap in geographic area and project idea. I will definitely check out the proposal and if either of us moves forward we should connect our Honduran partners.

Photo of Courtney null

Absolutely! Best of luck!

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