Week Three – Global Trend: The Priority of Family-based Care

CAFO Course Forums OVC Essentials – 2018 Winter Week Three – Global Trend: The Priority of Family-based Care

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    • #30324
      Leah St. Pierre
      CAFO Staff

      Feel free to respond to just one or all of the following prompts:

      Reflect on any new learnings this week that challenged a previously held belief or philosophy? After reading and watching this week’s material, do you hold any new perspectives on global orphan care?

      Express your any feelings you have around the complexities of this issue and how they have played out in your own life and ministry.

      Describe in your own words (from what you learned this week) what important factors should be considered when planning to transition from residential care to family care.

    • #30941
      Lis Doane
      Participante

      Coming from an international development background, I found it so interesting to discover that our failures in implementing a functional orphan care model were so intrinsically related to our failures to follow a sound community development model in the process.  Conducting a comprehensive community needs assessment and following it up with a holistic and community based action plan is critical to any development approach, whether orphan care related or not.  For sustainable, long term change, we have to look at, and develop, systems within the family and the community. The real issue we need to address is poverty and it’s impact on families.

      • #30942
        meghan rivard
        Participante

        I absolutely agree that the real issue is, as you said, poverty and it’s impact on families. the education showed that many have at least one living parent, but due to poverty, they are not able to care for their children. it is so important for the Church and assisting organizations to come along side of the families and offer them as much assistance as possible. i feel that this would have a major impact on the number of orphan children in the world.

      • #30957
        Leah St. Pierre
        CAFO Staff

        Great thoughts here, Lis. I agree – a community needs assessment alongside a community assets assessment. What strengths does the community have? Who are the invested stakeholders in the health of families and children and how do we get them engaged? In doing so, you’d already have an idea of where family members are, what families or other adults are willing to take in children and what these families need to do so sustainably and so on, rather than jumping to residential care right away when it seems like a child doesn’t have another option.

    • #30943
      meghan rivard
      Participante

      My reflections and readings for this week came from the readings and viewings, with the biggest impact coming from the cautionary reading about removing all orphanages and placing children back with biological family. initially when i read the title of this week, i thought of course foster care, adoption, kinship, etc, would be better than an orphanage.

      But the poverty in many countries may make returning a child to their family as detrimental as an orphanage institutionalized setting. i would love for the Church as a whole to come together, along with the many organizations available, to first not just go somewhere and get rid of orphanages, but first to come alongside the family’s and ensure they are prepared and equipped to take care of the child, if they would come back home.

      • #30947
        Emma Leitson
        Participante

        Meghan, I so agree with you. I think it is so important for the Church to create a solid foundation and to be intentional in equipping and preparing families in order to take care of the child. It’s so important to make sure the child feels at ease and is comfortable and in order to do this, we must work with the families first and foremost. we have to analyze the environment, the society, the outside factors, and prepare and address the various impacts and how we can best go about equipping the families in the best possible way.

    • #30945
      Kaari Vasquez
      Participante

      This week’s material did a very nice job of presenting the ideal of children growing up in families along with the challenges that come with ensuring they are transitioned into a safe and stable environments. Knowing how many children are placed in orphanages due to poverty versus true neglect, abuse, or loss of caregivers is certainly eye opening and will hopefully help us to better advocate for family preservation when possible.

      We are often discussing this topic because we see how many children linger in orphanages without anyone advocating for them to have permanency within a family. We believe very strongly that family is the best place for children to be raised and we also know how important it is to be purposeful in prayer as well as building positive relationships in order to set the stage for sharing this perspective.

      When planning to transition from residential care to family care, the appropriate support needs to be in place. Ideally, social workers and therapists work with orphanage directors and staff in order to ensure the best plan of action. My favorite concept gleaned from this week was that of ensuring that there is a ‘gatekeeper.’ As new children come into orphanages, we need to be proactive in assessing their needs and ensuring that they are moving toward a family setting.

      • #30958
        Leah St. Pierre
        CAFO Staff

        I love that you pulled out the gate-keeping piece. This feels like a really important missing link in the conversation that many times feels like it can become «Orphanages are bad, families are good», and glosses over many of the structures and resources that need to be in place to both ensure children are being assessed at the front end of entering residential care and when being transitioned back into a family environment. The difficulty, of course, becomes developing the social work capacity in resource poor environments for this level of gate-keeping and monitoring.

      • #31004
        Jessica Rush
        Participante

        You are so right about the gatekeeping point and how we need to be proactive about assessing a child’s needs and advocating for the best possible home situation. I think this is one thing that I tend to gloss over and not think about is who is advocating for these children? Orphanage directors have so much they are taking care of that it is crucial for there to be other workers who can work together to come up with care plans.

      • #31047
        Alexis Martens
        Participante

        Jessica, I love how you pointed out the vitalness in assessing a child’s needs and advocating for them. One thing that I know I have already glossed over on this journey of learning about these systems is the option to really listen and ask the children what they feel they need. Of course, their maturity needs to be taken into account, but just like in week one when we stated the importance of just asking local leadership what help it need, we can also ask the vulnerable children. If they came from extremely poverty-stricken conditions, we can avoid just rushing them back into those conditions.

      • #31015
        openarms
        Participante

        Kaari,

        I really enjoyed reading your thoughts here! It reminded me of a comment made in one of the podcasts this week – that we really have to focus on de-institutionalizing the entire system, not just the children. It takes an entire community (both those supporting the work and those on the ground) shifting their way of thinking to develop a new system. Best of luck to you as you make that transition!

        Blessings,

        Laura

      • #31028
        Melissa Schlax
        Participante

        I also agree that the Gatekeeping area is the one that tends to get left out of the conversation. It is also one of the most expensive areas for orphanages to develop and can be harder to raise fund for than other more tangible needs.  Working in communications for a Children’s Home in Guatemala one of my biggest challenges is how to bring such a huge issue down to small bite sized pieces we can share and try to bring donors along this journey with us.

      • #31045
        Brittany Dealy
        Participante

        I agree that gatekeeping is so important and essential. So glad that it is a standard for so many orphanages, although, I didn’t know about this concept and am glad that there are standards to live up too.

        It is understandable that «[gatekeeping] is still undeveloped in most parts of the world, especially in Africa.» I am praying that caregivers’ eyes are opened and that there are ministries out there that can help facilitate this. Understandable that it wouldn’t be the capacity of every caregiver or orphanage, but for someone to come alongside and facilitate would be powerful.

         

    • #30946
      Emma Leitson
      Participante

      I thoroughly enjoyed this week’s readings and speaker. After hearing Jason speak and reading his book «Everyone Can do Something»,  I was very encouraged. A few things that stuck out to me during Jason’s talk was when he spoke about how he knew a mechanic who would, once a month, provide a free oil change for foster care families. This really hit me because, as a student, I want to do something, especially in regards to foster care because I truly feel like the Lord is leading my heart in this direction. However, I wasn’t ever sure where to start with this. But just as simple as what the mechanic did, I could do something like this. It really encouraged me to look at the gifts God has given me and see how to use those gifts for His glory! I can babysit, I can host a worship and prayer night for vulnerable children, etc.

       

      I also loved the point Jason made about  how its more about the family «giving» to the child rather than «getting». This was a new approach I had never heard before but it makes so much sense and it is so important for people to know and understand that. My previous held belief would be that a family was getting a child but it should not be that at all. The intention should be to give to the child, nurture him/her, encourage, love, provide, etc. It’s important to not lose that focus.

    • #30956
      Lis Doane
      Participante

      Kaari, I so agree with you!  The “gatekeeping” piece is so essential in the process.  A comprehensive needs asssessment for each child’s welfare, geared towards an eventual family based permanent placement is critical.

    • #31003
      Jessica Rush
      Participante

      One of the things that was impactful for me this week was thinking though what it would look like if all institutionalized care was gone. I have always supported the notion that a child’s best interests is to be placed with family first (provided it is a good situation) and foster care/adoption/etc. if that fails or is not an option. In reading the article on Rwanda and the mandate imposed by the government to shut down the orphanages, my eyes were opened to the fact that sometimes, orphanages and group homes are the best option. In my mind, orphanages were the least of all options (family care, foster care, adoption and orphanages) because we hear so many negative things about them. But reading this article has made me re-think things. First of all, not all orphanages are bad. There are so many people running and working in orphanages around the world who are doing an excellent job and the best with what they have and I applaud and thank them for it! Secondly, it helped me understand that not all family members who are willing to take the child are necessarily the best fit for the child. We need to advocate for a better screening process for family and next of kin to make sure they are appropriate caregivers and not just taking the child because they want to be compensated for it.

      • #31122
        Danita White
        Participante

        Hi Jessica,

         

        I too think that the best (and first) option for a child is for them to be placed within a family that is able to care for them and love them, but from the learnings this week, I realize that this is not always possible. While there are many self-serving orphanages out there that should not be supported, there are also many good orphanages that truly have the best interests of the children who they are serving at heart. In many cases, these orphanages are necessary because if they did not exist, thousands of children would be without a place to stay or food to eat.

         

        Despite the good purposes that many orphanages serve, however, they should always be viewed as «an intervention and not as a destination,» as Sarah Geiseirch put it, for children without families.

         

        Grace + peace,
        Danita

    • #31013
      openarms
      Participante

      When I face the complexities of orphan care, I simultaneously feel frustration and relief.

      Frustration at the way I just can’t quite seem to wrap my head around all the statistics and care models and exceptions to every rule. Frustration that there’s no «quick fix» or magic model of care that would eliminate the vulnerability of children. Frustration at this broken world where we face these challenging, overwhelming situations. Frustration at myself for not understanding all of this sooner.

      But I also feel relief – that it really is more than I can face alone, that I’m forced to rely on the strength and wisdom of Christ and others to find my way through. It helps to know we’re not alone – and neither are the children we serve. We’re surrounding by community, and we’re held in God’s hand.

      In my own life, this looks like removing myself as the hero of the story, staying humble and seeking what’s best for our children – not me, not our donors. It also looks like asking for help and insight when I need it. I want the things I’m learning to shape my actions, not just my thoughts, but sometimes I struggle to know what that looks like. Leaning into the wise mentors around me can help me do this, as well as continuing to seek the Lord. We’ll never have it all figured out – but at least we know the One who does.

      – Laura

      • #31014
        Kaari Vasquez
        Participante

        Laura,

        That was beautifully expressed and what a wonderful reminder of the importance of staying humble and relying on wisdom from Christ alone!

    • #31018
      Jonathon Sampson
      Participante

      I appreciate the acknowledgment that small family-style group homes can play an important role and are not the same as institutional care. My wife and I were houseparents at a family style group home for kids in foster care, at the same organization that I now work for to recruit foster parents. In South Carolina, there are about 4200 kids in foster care and only about 2700 foster families. Ideally, we would be able to find 1500 more families to meet the need, but until then, small group homes are a great option. This is a great resource outlining the advantages of high-quality residential care is a good thing. (https://www.boystown.org/quality-care/Documents/why-quality-care.pdf)

      I think this connects really well to last weeks lesson. If the government is put in charge of childcare, bad things can happen. It needs to be a partnership, but if the loving, nurturing, supportive Church takes charge of this issue, children can experience much better outcomes.

      • #31071
        Ariel Meneese
        Participante

        Great insight, Jonathan! I worked with a local organization for a while that provides temporary space in a group home for young adults who have aged out of foster care. These homes are so important. The residents in the homes are able to learn the necessary life skills that would help them live their best lives. Skills most of us take for granted like interviewing for a job, budgeting, grocery shopping, etc. Until I got involved with that organization, I didn’t even think about how those skills can be easily overlooked when you get shuffled around from place to place and don’t have anyone to teach you.

        Group homes are not bad. Orphanages are not bad. Not on their own. We just have to use them properly and as temporary solutions.

    • #31029
      Melissa Schlax
      Participante

      Working in a small institution that is changing over to residential style care in family settings I really appreciated the article that had such a realistic view of both sides of this issue. I believe it is important to keep working towards a family for every child while at the same time not trying to move ahead so quickly that we end up working against children’s best interests in an effort to create a system that looks good on paper.  The issues surrounding deinstitutionalization are so much more complicated than many of the articles and reports are conveying.

      One issue we see where I work is that we receive a lot of large families with 3-5 siblings in a group.  When reunification is not possible, it is really hard to find a placement for them. Assuming you can find family members willing to take 1 or 2, should you divide them up? How many foster or adoptive families are going to want or even be able to take in a group of 5 children? What if there is a baby in the mix. We can find families for a baby, but do you give the baby a chance for a family while causing trauma to the other siblings who loose their little brother or sister.  These are daily questions that come up…that don’t have a perfect answer.

      The issues are endless and to be honest a bit overwhelming to think through. I am excited for the movement here in Gautemala towards reform, but also worried that some of the sweeping laws they are trying to put in place will also bring problems for some of the sweet children we care for.

      Thankfully we serve a God who is bigger than governments or the orphan crises and he cares more for each of these little ones than I ever can.

      • #31043
        Kaitlyn Stutts
        Participante

        Melissa,

        It sounds like you have a lot of firsthand experience with exactly what the articles and videos discussed this week! It was so valuable for me to read your experience and expertise regarding deinstitutionalization. I thought the articles and videos made the process sound a lot easier than it would actually take place in practice. And as you stated, it is important that the child’s best interests remain the priority because each child and case will differ. It is evident there is a daily struggle to decide what will benefit the child most. In your experience, what have you found to be the best way in determining what is in the child’s best interest? From what I have read and experienced thus far in my internship at an adoption and foster care agency, I believe it would be so difficult to work through the huge decisions regarding the care for these children that will impact them for the rest of their lives. So what steps do you take to make sure the decision regarding the child’s care will be most beneficial to them?

      • #31049
        Melissa Schlax
        Participante

        Hey Kaitlyn,

        Since I work with the sponsorship program here I get lots of bits and pieces from the director and social worker about the children’s cases and why they come and leave our care. In the case of family groups we have always worked to keep siblings together. We also have a number of older children in our care and these are reasons we feel that there will continue to be a need for high quality residential care well into the future.

        Regarding your questions about these tough decisions I believe the essential key there is a good team of social workers and psychologist working together to answer these questions. In the US we also have «Child Advocates» which is another great role to make sure the will of the child is presented.  Imagine being a child that doesn’t want to return home, but the presses of being forced to say that in front of a judge and the emotional battle a child goes through to say that in front of their mother is very difficult. A good «Gatekeeping» team is essential and there was some really good information on this in the optional materials.

        In regards to the deinstituanlizaion process, what I see from my end here is that the government is being pushed to make large law reforms without putting in place the reforms needed to maintain a system without institutions or residential care. Mostly I see the plan as a bit short sighted and hope the see UNISEF and other global organizations adjust their push first towards social reform and community development programs to pave the way for the reduction or elimination of institutions. Building a foster care system in a third world country where even adoption is a foreign concept, takes time.

        One positive thing I have seen is that while the government is working to set up a foster care system, it is the Christians who are taking the concept out to churches to find foster families. We can hope for a much healthier foster system if we can fill it with Christian families who are pursuing it for the right reasons.

        I was one of those people who read the data and was passionate that we needed to move our children out as soon as possible. While I still have a passion to see every child in a family I know now that it will take time and many of the children we are caring for now, may not get that opportunity so we must continue to pursue excellence and reform even in our institutions and residential care programs.

        Anyways, I could rambled on….

      • #31074
        Lindsey Hughes
        Participante

        Melissa, it sounds like you have a unique perspective on this topic since you are working in this area day in and day out! Thank you for speaking to this and giving us a glimpse into your expertise. Like you stated, it is vitally important that children be treated in an individualized manner, rather than a generalized manner. What is most beneficial for one child may be detrimental for another. It’s so important that we look at the big picture and the potential implications that policies will have on the children in care. As you said, «it is important to keep working towards a family for every child while at the same time not trying to move ahead so quickly that we end up working against children’s best interests in an effort to create a system that looks good on paper.» If we work from a mentality of «what looks good on paper,» we run the risk of causing more harm than good to the people we are providing care for.

    • #31035
      Lindsey Hughes
      Participante

      I think that the thing that stuck out to me this week was the concept of orphanage or institutional care for children in other countries potentially being more beneficial than returning children to their families. This probably stood out to me so much because of a book that I am currently reading that discusses family care v. orphanage/institutional care in the United States, so the topic is fresh on my mind. I have always believed that family care is better than institutional or residential care because of the human contact that it offers. In many countries, poverty makes it nearly extremely difficult for reunification to be a positive and successful reality for families. For a few weeks, I have been pondering this question: what would it look like if the global church came together and worked to give families the tools and resources they need in order to make successful reunification possible? Obviously this is a multi-faceted idea that would require an immense amount of planning and coordination with churches, organizations, and potentially even government agencies around the globe. In my mind, when I picture this coordinated effort, I see a beautiful picture of the gospel coming to life in a tangible way that has the potential to change the lives of children and families around the globe. It is not something that could be done overnight, but small steps can lead to big changes over time.

      • #31124
        Jacklynn Campbell
        Participante

        I believe resourcing families is one of the most effective methods to growing a healthier community and lowering the rates of children being placed in institutions and orphanages. Hear me out, in college I took a class on family resource management and one of our assigned articles correlated families and the economy. I drew from this that communities with healthier families were better off financially.  If effectively resourcing families, not just financially, but across the spectrum, then it is possible to suggest that the pressure of the orphan care crisis could lessen on a negative scope, thus improving overtime. This would have to be done in a manner that can be translated across borders and cultures.  This is not the exact article, but it gets the point across:   Strong families- Prosperous States

    • #31041
      Kaitlyn Stutts
      Participante

      The complexities of family-based care versus institutional care settings are beyond what any one person, organization, or even government can combat. After this week’s readings and videos it is clear to see that there is no right or wrong way to approach orphan care. Each child, family, city, culture, and even government will have different needs and abilities to care for vulnerable children. This issue is so huge and beyond what any one person or organization can do, so it can make it a bit discouraging. I think it is important to try and create a system that will put the children’s needs above an ideal or image. For example, in the Rwanda article, Solomon and Samuel needed each other more than they needed to be returned to family-based care to individuals who either did not want them or could not provide for them.

      The content from this week has played out in my life on the short term missions I have been a part of to Peru and several different countries in Africa. I am reminded of the «orphanage» I spent time at in Malawi where children were placed in small group homes within the same village. Each home had a mother to care for the children, in addition to teachers and leaders. The village was very much a community surrounding the children identified as orphans. However, several of the children were not orphans in its truest sense, as many had one or both parents living. Many of these children’s families simply could not afford to raise them, so the children were sent to live in the orphanage. I recall one boy in particular I spent time with who was about 12 years old. Both of his parents were living, but since he chose to follow Christianity rather than practice the Muslim faith of his parents, so they refused to allow him to live with them. So while he was not an orphan in the sense of his parent’s living, he became an orphan through rejection. There are so many different situations and reasons behind why children need care outside of the traditional family model, but I feel it would be best to keep in mind the individual child’s needs and what resources the community has to offer.

    • #31046
      Brittany Dealy
      Participante

      What may be surprising to hear, is that I never considered that the child should have a say in what type of care they receive, if there are multiple options. (stated in the Faith To Action webinar). I am new to this realm of work, and new to the non-profit world, and new to orphan care. I am once-removed, being in North America compared to the work my ministry does, and I was naive in thinking that ‘we just go in and take care of the children in the way that we think is best.’ But OF COURSE: if there are several models of care available, the child should be asked what he/she needs to suit their needs of life. That really impacted me this week.

      I am learning so much in this course, and appreciate how much we are being taught, as my eyes are being opened to things I never knew I was being naive and ignorant about.

      • #31113
        Emma MacDougall
        Participante

        Brittney, I absolutely agree with you. I am new to this as well and had not thought about the child having a say in their situation. Somebody could think that what works for one child will work for another, but they should have a say in what happens to them. I also love all that this class is teaching and being able to learn so much from others who have more experience than I do in this field.

    • #31052
      Alexis Martens
      Participante

      Brittany, I really appreciate your vulnerableness in sharing how our own way of thinking can blind us from other simple truths. I was definitely in the same boat of not even considering the children’s points of view, but I really loved this week’s points of that. The small things like these perspectives are really important in helping us start ahead of where our brothers and sisters who already have been working were able to. I love the idea of building upon what has already been laid down, and that is the benefit of us coming here and trying to become well informed. 🙂

    • #31070
      Ariel Meneese
      Participante

      I have been listening to the podcast “What you missed in history class” and one of the episodes I listened to today was about Fordlandia, an attempt by Henry Ford to create a utopian society in Brazil to farm latex for rubber tires.

      Everything to create a quaint little town was shipped to Brazil and set up with ease, including houses, a mess hall, etc. There was plenty of food, water, and all the resources for thousands of people to live comfortably. Local people were recruited to work and they looked forward to it because they would be paid really well compared to other available jobs in the area.

      All I could think about while I was listening was how many people tend to approach helping people in other cultures in a similar way. Send money and resources to the local people and everything will be great, right?

      As most people who spend time researching orphan care know, this is not normally the case. The best way to help is to go into the community, learn about the culture, listen to the people, and ask locals how they could best be served.

      Fordlandia turned out to be a $20-30 million flop. Absolute failure. The prefabricated houses were built in Detroit, in the style and with materials that work great in Detroit. In the incredibly hot, humid Amazon though, having insulated metal roofs is unnecessary and really uncomfortable for the inhabitants. All the food was served in a mess hall and was brought in from Detroit; all completely new experiences for the local Brazilians. The rubber trees were planted individually in neat rows. Naturally, they grow in small groups with space between each group. The way the trees were planted in Fordlandia attracted bugs, including mosquitos, which led to an outbreak of malaria. The work hours were from 6am to 3pm (Detroit time), but the locals would normally work only at dawn and dusk (the cooler times of day). There was mandatory swing dancing after the work day was over. Alcohol was forbidden. The list goes on. Henry Ford never even set foot in Brazil. He had no idea what the local culture was like. After only a short time, Fordlandia was abandoned and remains a ghost town to this day.

      All this to say, learning about the culture first and talking with the local people is the best way to start any kind of relief effort, especially orphan care. What works in the US may not work in an African country. In the reading and on the call today, we learned about how foster care works great in the US, but most other countries don’t have any kind of formal foster care program. Even if one was implemented, there may be little to no success.

      TLDR: Orphan care should not be rushed into in a foreign culture — we have to learn about the culture and shape the orphan care around the culture, not the other way around.

    • #31086
      Caitlin Snyder
      Participante

      «Children belong in families,» is a phrase said over and over again in the child welfare community. Working in international adoption, I say it weekly, if not daily. It’s the crux of why I do what I do. It’s both that simple and also incredibly complicated.

      Children belong in families where their needs can be met.

      Children belong in permanent families.

      Children belong in families where abuse and neglect are absent.

      When transitioning from residential to family based care, it’s important that the plan be individualized for each individual child and family. What needs one family has may be different from another. Maybe a child’s special needs make it more difficult for the family. Or maybe even though it’s a kinship placement, trauma informed care is necessary. Maybe siblings need to remain together. Coming alongside families and children on an individual level is vital. But it poses an important question – who is responsible for this individualized care? The government? The church?

      Permanence is important in a child’s development. Family based care can only be as successful as it is stable and consistent. Moving between multiple homes, even good homes, where his or her physical needs are met makes it difficult for a child to build secure attachments. It may not be enough for a child to just be in a family or home where his or her physical needs are met for a season; permanence must also be a goal of family based care.

    • #31112
      Emma MacDougall
      Participante

      One thing that stuck out to me this week was the importance of transitioning to family based care. I honestly had never really thought about how families in living in poverty might not physically be able to support a child in that kind of situation and the importance of the church supporting those families. The church has an important role to support and provide the families with things that they need as they take in children in family based care.

    • #31121
      Danita White
      Participante

      Reflect on any new learnings this week that challenged a previously held belief or philosophy? After reading and watching this week’s material, do you hold any new perspectives on global orphan care?

       

      I think it’s important that those of us who come from a Western background are careful to avoid thinking that we’re doing children from non-Western countries a favor by adopting them and bringing them to the U.S. or Canada or Britain. Our way of living is not necessarily the right way, and it certainly may not be the right way for children from other countries and cultures. While the places they were born into may be more poverty stricken, less advanced, and inherently more dangerous, it is never a good reason to remove them from their home country just because they live differently.

       

      Instead of removing them, it may be better to help them thrive where they are…and in helping one or more children thrive, we may have a greater chance of stopping a negative cycle and helping an entire community thrive. While there is no mistaking that sin has marred our world in every possible way through sickness, abuse, neglect, etc., there should also be no mistaking that God does not make mistakes as to where and how and when He allows children to be born. Everyone is created by God for a purpose, whether they are born in the U.S. or Ukraine, and it may be that God placed them in a particular country «for such a time as this.»

    • #31123
      Jacklynn Campbell
      Participante

      Transitioning from residential to family based care is a much needed and very delicate move. It is delicate in its sense of complexity as there is an entire world full of children and cultures, paradigms and mindsets, etc. to effectively reframe in OVC care.  I am apart of an organization that built a children’s home in India.  It is called an orphanage, but the children there are often sent for a short period of time for parents in a financial bind and then picked up again.  They really are not orphaned.  Even in the context of social orphans, they have families that love them.  This home is directed by a wonderful family from this community.  In communication (which is difficult as it is in a very small village in the middle of no where), it has been discovered that the priorities from the western standpoint is far different from their standpoint.  Makes complete sense considering that these cultures are so far from each other.  At the same time, there has to be a Kingdom culture for OVC.  I believe there is a middle ground, or should I say higher ground, in international childcare and family building that aligns with the Kingdom of God and the only way we can reach that is by consulting with Him and following His lead.  This organization is working well with this children’s home in making sure that these children are well educated and loved.  They also do so much in the community to make connections and build resources amongst families.  Transitioning from residential to family is difficult. Residential care worked for a time, but it was more of placing a bandaid over a wound far too big to simply be covered.  It is time for the Healer to come and do surgery to the man made processes and heal the generation of orphaned and vulnerable children here now.

      • #31209
        Dianna Yang
        Participante

        Jacklynn,

        You made some really great points. I totally agree that it is a much needed and delicate move. We are making decisions for another life that we may not be aware of their history or trauma. We have to be careful. We have to learn from an all-knowing, loving God that we can love another person completely. There’s something about God’s love that is so different, that goes beyond race, blood, gender, culture, religion and so forth. And to show that love to someone else is to show them Christ. I studied abroad in India this past Spring Break and it was one of the hardest trip. India needs God’s presence and love. May your ministry be blessed. Praying for your ministry.

         

    • #31183
      Natalie Cormier
      Participante

      Reflect on any new learnings this week that challenged a previously held belief or philosophy? After reading and watching this week’s material, do you hold any new perspectives on global orphan care?

      I definitely did not realize that some countries are getting rid of institutional care facilities. The movement and dedication to family-based care are great, but it makes me wonder if this is actually something that is benefitting children. In residential homes, children may be starving and be ignored while also being isolated from other children. In institutions, the same problems can happen with little oversight. I wonder how this influence the countries economically as well as the government no longer needs to fund some of these institutions (if they did at all). Preventing private orphanages causes concerns for me though since many of those institutions can be supported through private donations. Furthermore, do good orphanages incentivize or encourage the abandonment of children? All interesting questions to consider that I’m sure vary based on the location and the state of the environment.

    • #31208
      Dianna Yang
      Participante

      I had to review some of the content for this week to truly grasp the concepts and ideas. I think one of the biggest things that stood out to me was the concept of asking the children about the type of care the child would want to have. My first initial thought is “well, yeah. who wouldn’t want to be adopted/placed into a “better” family?” I had to really reflect back on why I felt this why and why I believed this option was best for everyone. As a social work student and a Christian, I am reminded every person has dignity and worth regardless of their ages, status, situation, etc. It is so important to consider the thoughts and feelings of the child who is and will be transitioning. This is one important factor to consider when planning to transition from residential care to family care. Only the child knows the trauma, loss, and stories they have been through, and would know what is best for themselves. Everyone desires to be loved and to be in a family/community that they feel comfortable with. I can’t be the person to determine or to not consider how they may be feeling about this big life change. It isn’t easy and to help the child transition smoothly, it is important to consider what type of transition they desire.

      • #31904
        Courtney Schmidt
        Participante

        Yes Dianna, this too stuck out to me. Asking the children what they would like or what they need is so simple, but profound. When this idea was mentioned I remembering thinking, «Yes that is so true…I can’t believe I hadn’t already thought of that». Children have feelings too and no one wants to be out of the loop when considering their own life. I feel like involving them may help to give them some hope and show them that we love and value them – and we value their feedback.

    • #31268
      Penny Fairo
      Participante

      Working internationally it is a challenge to move from residential care to family-based care. But, definitely possible as we have seen in many examples especially from Faith to Action initiative. The strategy needs to come from the top down starting with the government (Social Services). In most countries, poverty is the main reason for abandonment or separation of a child from their family. If the basic issues of poverty are not addressed, then returning the child to the same circumstances, or worse, that they were separated from in the first place, will be detrimental to a successful reunification plan. This is a challenge in abject poverty situations. But, with Jesus leading the way, all is possible! Changes in OVC care will change in this and the next generation with the importance of family placed as a priority where it needs to be.

      • #32679
        Natalie Cormier
        Participante

        I found it really interesting that you advocated for the top down. A lot of time, top down might be more strategic because you have to convince fewer people and mainly push the work on other people whereas a bottom up movement you have to convince more people but it is harder to ignore once it has gained momentum.

    • #31903
      Courtney Schmidt
      Participante

      I know I’m late posting on this material, but this week’s material has been my favorite so far. I had always heard about orphanages and the idea of short term mission trips, but I hadn’t really been exposed to orphan care. Orphan care always been on my heart but I haven’t been on any mission trips or involved in orphan care. This week really gave me a new perspective on large orphanages and the importance of family based care. I learned that children are negatively impacted socially, emotionally, and psychology when they are placed in larger group homes without the individual care from a family. I learned about who the short term mission trips may not actually be the best type of ministry to children in these situations due to the mass volume of people coming in and out of their life. I just appreciated learning more about their situation and thinking through better ways of caring for them. I developed an understanding of the importance of finding ways to support families so the children do not end up in orphanages, but remain with their families. It was amazing to hear that like 90% of children in orphanages have 1 or more parents able to care for them if they had the resources. I think it’s great that the focus is more on how can we keep families together while considering what is the safest and best option for the child.

    • #33115
      Katya Heyl
      Participante

      Based on my thesis which I’m happy to share with the instructor, I already knew about single and double orphans as I was a single orphan not a double orphan. There is consensus that poverty plays a big part in the demand of orphanages just as poverty is a characteristic of the heart of an orphan. I do believe that there are emotional repercussions to placing children in residential care. One term that I did learn about was «gatekeeping» which ensures that the child being placed prior to the orphanage does not have immediate or extended family that can provide for the child. Another concept that stood out to me was implementing programs that help teens reintegrate back into society. This is discussed in «Risks of Institutional Care on Later Life.»

      I am interested to see which countries have already implemented this reintegration process. One question I would like to ask in regards to this topic: Why is the reintegration process not happening if caregivers and professionals are aware of the problem? Is there a lack of adequate resources?

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