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CAFO Webinar on Building a Foundational Culture of Orphan Care in Your Church

Today, Wednesday, October 5th, Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) will host a webinar entitled, “Everyone Can Do Something: Building a Foundational Culture of Orphan Care in Your Church." This webinar will explore how we can move caring for the orphaned and vulnerable from the peripherals of what our church does into the foundational culture of who our church is. As we look at how the cooperative efforts of the Body of Christ work themselves out through the care of the orphaned and vulnerable, we find the same premise to hold true— we’re not all called to do the same thing, but we’re all capable of doing something. We all have a role to play— some more visible, some more subtle— all of significant importance in serving the cause of children and [...]

The Long Road Back: Transitioning to Family Care in Rwanda

In Rwanda, an estimated 860,000 children and young people have lost one or both parents from the 1994 genocide, HIV and AIDS, or poverty. The strain that this has placed on families is overwhelming. In 2012 there were 3,300 children living in 33 institutions, commonly known as orphanages, across the country. Hope and Homes for Children (HHC), an organization working to place vulnerable children in family-based care and prevent institutional care for children, is partnering with the Rwandan government, UNICEF, and other partners to transition children out of all 33 institutions and into loving, stable, safe families. As of December 31, 2014, the number of children in institutions decreased to 1,600. The next phase of the reform will address the situation of institutionalized children with disabilities and street children to [...]

HelpKids Centre: Supporting the Love of Families in Sri Lanka

Family-based, alternative care for orphans and vulnerable children is on the rise in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Alison Atkinson and her husband Narel joined Australian Christian Churches International Relief (ACCI) 10 years ago, as field workers in Colombo. They established the HelpKids Centre, a local, community-based organization that strengthens local families living in slums and severe poverty. It functions as a community center, providing early childhood education, daycare support, counseling for parents, and medical assistance, supports women in accessing vocational training, and coordinates women’s and children’s clubs. The Atkinson’s approach to care for vulnerable children has changed over the years. After the 2007 tsunami, they found themselves managing a partner organization’s children’s home, which they renamed Home of Hope. In 2011, ACCI provided resources and training to the HelpKids Centre staff [...]

Now Available – Key Research on Orphanages and Family Care!

The Faith to Action Initiative’s newest publication Key Research on Orphanages and Family Care: An Annotated Bibliography is available online for download.  This resource – a companion to Children, Orphanages, and Families: A Summary of Research to Help Guide Faith-Based Action (Summary of Research) is provided as a working bibliography of key research and evidence-based policy papers on the care of orphans and other vulnerable children separated from parental care. Most of the documents in this bibliography are recent research studies, published within the last seven years. These studies include a range of research methods and approaches, from case studies focused on specific care settings or specific child populations, to comparison studies of different groups of children over time, to surveys of residential care in various country contexts. Some focus [...]

Staying Engaged Throughout the Year

Burke Presbyterian Church is a 600-member church located in Burke, Virginia, within commuting distance of Washington, DC. In 1988, Burke began a partnership with the churches near the rural village of Kibwezi, Kenya, to minister to those in greatest need. This relationship, now spanning over two decades, has become integral to Burke’s identity. […]

Partnering to Make a Difference in Ethiopia

Both demographically and chronologically, City Church is a young church. Founded in 2007 and based in Tallahassee, Florida, the church’s membership is made up mostly of students and young professionals. City Church’s passion for outreach “in an ever-changing culture” is reflected in its meeting places, beginning with the high school auditorium where services were first held, to its current home in a warehouse and the local nightclub where Easter and Christmas services meet each year. […]

From Church to Child, Church and Community

The Journey Church, a 175-member church in San Jose, California, is a small church making a big difference for orphans and vulnerable children in Zimbabwe. It all began when The Journey’s pastor joined a fellow church member on a trip led by World Vision to the rural community of Limpopo. Returning to their home church, the men shared what they had seen: heartbreaking loss due to poverty and HIV/AIDS, as well as life-saving work being done to address the issue. The Journey was inspired to take action and begin raising both awareness and support. […]

Journeys of Faith: Changing the Way Churches Do Ministry

Hundreds of other pastors, laypersons, ministry and mission team leaders, faculty and students have found participation in a Journeys of Faith study group to be a great way to engage and learn together. Susie Reeder, Minister of Missions at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina, shared her personal, positive experience leading a Journeys of Faith study at her church. Read her blog here. You can organize a study group through your church, school, mission team, or with friends and family. If you are interested in learning more, please contact us at info@faithtoaction.org. You can also click here to order individual copies or download at Journeys of Faith.

Announcing our New Website.

We are proud to welcome you to our new Faith to Action website! Launched on September 23, 2013, www.faithtoaction.org is designed for ease of use whether you are connecting from your computer, tablet, or mobile device. Our goal is to provide the Christian faith community–churches, mission groups, and individuals–with valuable resources, inspiring stories, and practical tools to inform and support your ministries in response to the needs of orphans and vulnerable children. We invite you to explore the special features below, to share our website with others, and to give us your feedback so that we can continue to improve our site to better serve you.

Who is the Faith To Action Initiative?

The Faith to Action Initiative (formerly called the Better Care Network Faith-Based Outreach Committee) was first formed in 2006 in response to a growing concern about the high number of orphanages being funded and built in response to a growing concern about the high number of orphanages being funded and built in Africa in the wake of the HIV and AIDS crisis. We are a collaborative initiative made up of a group of individuals representing a range of Christian faith-based and child-focused organizations working to support the needs of orphans and vulnerable children in Africa (and beyond) and committed to strengthening family-based care. Please go to About Us to learn about our membership: our Leadership Council and Advisory Group. Our mission is to raise awareness about the needs of orphans and [...]

Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit 10

Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit 2014, May 1-2, 2014. The Christian Alliance for Orphans’ annual Summit inspires, equips and connects participants for adoption, foster care, and global orphan ministry through workshops and plenary sessions. Each year thousands of pastors, grassroots advocates, organizational leaders, church ministry heads, and other global leaders attend.

My “aha” moment. The story of a learning curve.

It kept me up nights and made my head ache…not to mention my heart and my belly. I couldn’t wrap my head around the staggering numbers--millions of children who had been orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS and other causes. My heart was drawn again and again to Sub-Saharan Africa – the epicenter of the crisis­ – even though I had never been there. I began to dig deeper and the stories, as Kay Warren often says, were “seriously disturbing.” I was moved to action. I began to join forums, attend meetings and to educate myself. I prayed a lot. The more I learned the more I felt a calling and a shift in my ideas about my life’s work going forward. This was in 1999–the year that my husband [...]

The Nanny State: Orphanages are Closing, but Not Quickly Enough

The Nanny State: Orphanages are Closing, but Not Quickly Enough. The Economist, August 17, 2013. This article raises the issue of the need for institutional care reform, noting that orphanages can be damaging to a child’s development, can prevent a child from living with their family, and are more costly than family care. The article references research by Faith to Action Advisory Group member, John Williamson.

World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day, December 1, 2014. World AIDS Day, held annually on December 1, is the day when individuals, churches, and organizations come together to publicly acknowledge the impact of HIV and AIDS.

Orphan Sunday

Orphan Sunday, November 2, 2014. This annual event calls Christians to put their faith into action and provides an annual opportunity to raise awareness and engage churches in praying for and giving to their preferred Christian ministries and charities that support orphans and vulnerable children both in the United States and overseas.