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

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

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Amanda commented on Families Not Orphanages

Hi Karuna, thank you for your comment. We've been working in the field of care reform for a long time and globally see that support to families to care for their children looks different depending on the context, the family, the child, etc. Our project seeks to support faith-based organizations and networks in their own contexts so much would depend upon the location but I can say that generally the technical training we provide incorporates an assessment of each family for their strengths/resources and needs prior to reunifying a child or placing a child. Families need a relationship with a social worker, they generally require some economic assistance (direct or indirect via training), usually sponsorship for education is necessary and long-term monitoring of the placement so that if challenges arise the family has someone to call and a regular social work visit. Families caring for children with special needs require health care resources and integrated education opportunities. This is why we do not just work directly with families but rather with the entire system in a country so that education and health care are part of the system of reform - ensuring children are raised in and remain in healthy and safe families often requires that governments and also private stakeholders such as the faith community rally around the idea of sustainable change.

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Amanda commented on Families Not Orphanages

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.

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Amanda commented on Families Not Orphanages

Hi Haseeb, Thanks for your question! I will definitely take a look at your project idea. In terms of incentivizing - Hope and Homes for Children has a lot of experience in this field. In our experience generally families are very open to reunification once a trained social worker or team is part of the process. We (or the organizations we train or partner with) assess the family meeting with them to determine the cause of separation from the child. Oftentimes it is for economic reasons and the perception that an orphanage can provide education or better care. In those cases the best way to reunify is to take time to work with a family to overcome the barriers they might have to caring for their child - sometimes this is job skills training, sometimes it is sponsoring the education of the children in the household, sometimes it is a small economic package, a repair to the home, etc. It is generally not a large need that is keeping children and families from reunifying. Sadly we find that in some cases it was the parents' concern about lack of bonding or fear they could not provide the "fancy" toys, backpacks or material supplies that well resourced orphanages offer. Whatever the barrier is, good social work teams can build relationships, mentor, provide support and then slowly begin the visits that are needed to ensure safe reunification and monitoring. In cases of extreme neglect or abuse or violence then we would be seeking an alternative family placement for the child (extended family, family friends, foster care, etc.) I liked your comment about providing dignified sources of income to mothers - this is so important. Ensuring that mothers and carers feel empowered to care for their children and work in ways that offer income but also dignity are really important to raising healthy and safe children.