Ending Orphanages Begins With Family Strengthening Programs
Globally, more than 80 percent of children in orphanages have at least one living parent. So how do these children end up in orphanages rather than with their families? Sadly, countless families across the world face circumstances such as the death of a parent, the loss of a job, or a conflict that threatens to keep them apart.
People like Gladys know this firsthand. When Gladys suddenly lost her husband and brother in a short time, she found herself looking after seven children; alone, without income.
Many parents who find themselves without the support of family or friends face a series of impossible choices. In desperation, some families feel they have no choice but to place their children in an orphanage where they will have food and shelter. But institutions like orphanages are not equipped to provide the individual love, care and sense of belonging that only a family can provide. Parents and children experience a significant loss of family separation in addition to the grief and trauma they have already experienced.
At a time when her children and her brother’s children were already suffering the loss of their fathers, Gladys did not want them to suffer again or risk losing them forever by placing them in an orphanage. A local district government referred her to the Family Preservation and Empowerment Program run by Bethany Christian Services in Ghana, aimed at helping families stay together and keep children out of institutions.
As part of the program, social workers accompanied Gladys and the children, providing links to direct services as well as mental health support while continuing to cope with the death of their loved ones. Gladys initially received financial support and access to services to meet the immediate critical needs of the family, including food, medical care and payment of school fees. Then, the program helped her become financially self-sufficient through business training opportunities that she was able to access while caring for the children.
Gladys started selling homemade ice cream and eventually expanded into selling pies and other baked goods at the local market. She plans to grow her business even more over the next year to keep her family safer.
Family strengthening programs prevent family separation in times of crisis. A growing number of international nonprofits, including faith-based organizations like Bethany, are committed to empowering the existing family unit, changing the way the world approaches child protection around the world.
The United States government is uniquely positioned to lead these efforts around the world with the expertise and resources to be a source of support and technical expertise for foreign child protection systems interested in the transition from an institutional orphanage to family care.
The bipartite Children in Family Safety Act, presented earlier this month, by Les Sens. Roy BluntRoy Dean Blunt End Of Orphanages Begins With Family Strengthening Programs Overnight Health Care – Presented by AstraZeneca and Friends of Cancer Research – FDA Opens Boosters for Young Teens GOP Senators Call for Answers on Testing Shortages Despite Funding “Ample” MORE (R-Mo.) And Amy klobucharAmy Klobuchar End of Orphanages Begins with Family Strengthening Programs Pelosi leads a minute of silence for January 6 with no Republicans except Cheneys The memo: threats to democracy are serious one year after January 6 MORE (D-Minn.) Is an important step in the right direction. This legislation would codify the continuum of care for children in the event of the loss of one or both parents and set a new standard within the global child protection system.??, helping children stay with extended family members, or other safe and loving homes in their own local communities. He also directs the State Department to be a source of encouragement for countries seeking to end the practice of placing children in orphanages.
This bill ensures that local and family care for vulnerable children remains a staple of international diplomacy and improves the level of federal government engagement in the long overdue reform of the international child protection system. long time.
Supporting sustainable and family-centered child protection systems is essential for global stability, especially after the devastating crisis impact of Covid-19 on children around the world. The United States can be a world leader through efforts like theChildren in Family Security Act which recognizes that the best place for children to thrive is within a family.
Leena Hill is Vice President of Global Services at Bethany Christian Services.