Blog

Blog 2017-10-23T15:05:51+00:00

5 Essential Steps for Transitioning to Family-Based Care

It has been a few months since we gathered with more than 2,000 global child welfare advocates and faith-based leaders in Nashville, Tennessee at the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit (CAFO2017). Attendees heard from renowned speakers, shared ideas, and asked themselves, as CAFO President Jedd Medefind put it, “what does the world need most from me?” For the Faith to Action Initiative, CAFO2017 was an opportunity to build relationships, share our resources, and host family care experts in our Effective Strategies for Transitioning to Family-Based Care workshop. The workshop was facilitated by Faith to Action’s Executive Director Sarah Gesiriech, and [...]

July 25th, 2017|

Can Conferences Change the World?

Five Reflections after the International Wholistic Missions Conference Like many others, the Faith to Action Initiative has a vision to change the world and see all children raised in loving families. Over the years, participating in conferences has been a main strategy in pursuing this vision. After facilitating a workshop track on orphans and vulnerable children at the 2017 International Wholistic Missions Conference (IWMC) in Phoenix, Faith to Action reflected on the opportunities of conferences, such as IWMC, to support our efforts to change the world. 1. Overcoming competition to explore opportunities for partnership. One of the benefits of [...]

June 5th, 2017|

NEW RESOURCE: Transitioning to Family Care for Children Tool Kit

The Faith to Action Initiative is happy to announce the launch of our Transitioning to Family Care for Children Tool Kit. This in-depth, online resource equips churches, faith-based organizations, donors, and others seeking to transition their care and support of children from residential care models to care within families. A companion to the Transitioning to Family Care for Children: A Guidance Manual, the Tool Kit allows users to access over 200 resources organized by specific topics within the transitioning care process, including practical tools, evidence-based research, case studies, country-specific information, and many other resources. Start Exploring Learn about key steps in transitioning [...]

May 25th, 2017|

Five Lessons Learned Through Global Church Partnership

Global church partnerships are an exciting idea, but pursuing a genuinely reciprocal relationship across the world can be challenging. Pulpit Rock Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has been partnering with World Orphans for three years to support a local church in Leku Keta, Ethiopia in caring for the vulnerable children there—single or double orphans living with one parent or without a birth parent in an informal foster family. Local volunteers in the Leku Keta Kale Heywet Church visit these families regularly to check on the children and their family’s overall wellbeing, provide support, and recommend services. They receive “home-based” care, [...]

March 29th, 2017|

Join Faith to Action at these Upcoming May Conferences

Faith to Action will be attending and presenting at both the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit and the International Wholistic Missions Conference. We hope you are able to join us to learn more about family-based care solutions. Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit May 4-5 // Nashville, TN The Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) Summit will welcome more than 2,500 orphan and vulnerable children advocates, pastors, and other faith-based leaders from over 25 countries for two-days of events, including pre-event intensives on May 3. Summit includes plenary sessions with national and international speakers, networking opportunities, and workshops. Faith to Action will [...]

March 20th, 2017|

CAFO Webinar Recap: Strategies and Resources for Transition to Family-Based Care

In the last Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) webinar, Strategies and Resources for Transition to Family-Based Care, experts in advocacy, research, and hands-on experience spoke about helpful information for faith-based organizations to use as they transition from residential care to care within families. Joining the discussion were Sarah Gesiriech, Executive Director of the Faith to Action Initiative; Beth Bradford, International Child Protection Consultant with Maestral International; and Tara Garcia, Co-Founder and CEO of Identity Mission. This webinar provides practical tips and highlights free resources, including Faith to Action’s newly released Transitioning to Family Care for Children: A Guidance Manual, to assist churches, [...]

February 7th, 2017|

Noonday Collection: Strengthening Families through Fair-Trade Business

If you were to journey across the ocean to Uganda and enter a lively artisan workplace filled with the sounds of chatter and fluttering fingers rolling colorful paper beads, you would meet Olivia. Olivia’s story is not unlike those of other women in the room. Just two years ago, Olivia was a single mother unable to find consistent employment. Out of sheer desperation, she was on the brink of sending her beloved daughter Rachel to an orphanage. Herself an orphan and survivor of exploitation, Olivia felt that she had no other options that would provide Rachel with the care and [...]

December 15th, 2016|

NEW RESOURCE: Transitioning to Family Care for Children: A Guidance Manual

The Faith to Action Initiative is excited to announce the launch of the much-anticipated Transitioning to Family Care for Children: A Guidance Manual. Just in time for Orphan Sunday on November 13, this manual provides practical guidance and tools for churches, faith-based organizations, donors, and others who are transitioning care for children away from residential care to care within families. This resource is aligned with biblical principles, a strong evidence base, and a growing movement within the Church that affirms the importance of family in every child’s life. The Guidance Manual provides an overview of the key concepts and steps [...]

November 11th, 2016|Tags: , |

CAFO Webinar on Finding Your Piece of the Foster Care Puzzle

Tomorrow, Wednesday, November 9th, Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) will host a webinar entitled, "Finding Your Piece of the Foster Care Puzzle." When people think about getting involved in foster care, the first things that often come to mind are foster parenting and adoption. To be sure, these are two important pieces of the foster care puzzle. But, what are some of the other pieces and how can God use your unique gifts and experiences in some of these vital areas? This webinar is designed to help you and others in your church understand multiple pieces of the foster care [...]

November 8th, 2016|Tags: , , |

New Resource on Exploring the Continuum of Care

Today the Faith to Action Initiative launched our new resource on the continuum of care for children. This web-based tool will help you explore a range of care options for children who are separated, or at risk of separation, from parental care. The continuum of care interactive graphic depicts an overview of the different types of care to consider when a child is separated from family care. The colorful graphic allows you to explore each topic on the continuum of care through links to short narratives, helpful resources, and inspirational examples. Multiple pathways illustrate the uniqueness of children’s circumstances and [...]

November 3rd, 2016|Tags: , , |

Reaching Vulnerable Teens Through Life Skills and Mentoring

When someone envisions orphan care and adoption, it is likely that images of babies and toddlers come to mind. However, across the globe, the group that most often remains overlooked and largely at risk are the adolescents who are on the verge of aging out of orphanages or foster care. These youth are at risk of never having the opportunity to experience the importance of being part of a family. For nearly 12 years my context has been the government-run orphanages of Ukraine and the former Soviet Union. Upon moving to Ukraine in 2004, I visited several large government orphanages [...]

October 27th, 2016|Tags: , , |

CAFO Webinar on Developing Social Work Capacity in Low-Resource Environments

Tomorrow, Wednesday, October 19th, Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) will continue their monthly webinar series, Knowledge + Practice. These webinars translate research into actionable information that OVC care practitioners can implement immediately to elevate the quality of the care they provide. This tenth webinar will explore principles of social work that are at the core of ensuring vulnerable children are cared for in a safe and healthy way. Due to lack of availability or inadequate funding, many organizations have limited or under-resourced social work staff, posing risks to the wellbeing of the children and families they serve. How do we [...]

October 18th, 2016|Tags: , |

Following God’s Lead: My Journey into Family-Based Care

Journeys in life rarely take a straight path, and my journey into orphan care is no exception. Yet, God promises that if we trust in Him, he will direct our paths (Proverbs 3:5–6). In my case, God’s directing was a U-turn. In 2010, I signed up to go on a short-term mission trip to serve at an orphanage in Zambia. Five years later, I found myself in Uganda empowering local churches to support vulnerable children and their families, advocating for family-based care rather than the use of orphanages. When I signed up to serve at the orphanage in Zambia, I [...]

October 17th, 2016|Tags: , , |

New Report on the Links Between Education and Children’s Care

Family For Every Child recently announced the launch of their report Schools that Care, which presents the key findings of a scoping study on the links between education and children’s care. The report argues that children’s rights to education and care are inextricably linked, with a loss of adequate care commonly pushing children out of school, and education systems having the potential to help prevent unnecessary family separation, abuse and neglect. It is further argued that education systems need to adapt to better support children in different forms of alternative care. The research presented in this report was led by [...]

October 12th, 2016|Tags: , , , |

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 [...]

October 5th, 2016|Tags: |

International Alternative Care Conference in Geneva

Faith to Action is excited to be part of the International Alternative Care Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. This is the 2016 edition of the annual conferences hosted jointly by the International Institute for the Rights of the Child (IDE) and the Centre for Children's Rights Studies at the University of Geneva (CIDE). For this “international alternative care conference”, the two hosts are partnering with several concerned international agencies that make up the Steering Group. The conference provides a bridge between research, policy and practice in the overall sphere of alternative care, and a much-needed space for discussion and exchange among [...]

September 30th, 2016|Tags: , |

Building a Children’s Home? Ten Thoughts to Consider

In our work with Casa Viva, we have the privilege of interacting with a variety of people around the issues of children separated from their first families. We are deeply aware of our shared calling and common motivation to care for children in need. As people have come to us seeking insight on the particulars of 24/7 care, a list of reflective questions to consider has been slowly taking shape. We share them with you as a way to begin the dialogue on what is best for children when they need a safe place to sleep. These are not necessarily [...]

September 28th, 2016|Tags: , |

The Threshold Is a Sacred Space: The Casa Viva Story

The story of Casa Viva is a story of children, family, and the local church. As the founders, we can see that it stretches from our childhood summers visiting grandparents in Nebraska to our present work in Costa Rica caring for children through local families and the local church. We are well aware that our parents created homes that were safe and delightful. Our memory of family when we were children is deep and rich. Our motivation to get involved with the issues facing children and families around the world is embedded in the collective past of our strong family [...]

September 16th, 2016|Tags: |

Launch of New Guidelines on Children’s Reintegration

Today Family for Every Child launched the Guidelines on Children’s Reintegration, which have been endorsed by 31 organizations, including many of the largest child protection agencies in the world.  The Guidelines call for greater investment in reintegration, and advocate for it to be pursued as the primary response before other care options are considered. The Guidelines were spearheaded by an interagency group led by Family for Every Child, that was set up in 2011 and has conducted an extensive literature review and consulted with 158 children, 127 service providers and policy makers from 66 organizations across over 20 countries. Promoting [...]

September 7th, 2016|Tags: |

Northeast Adoption & Child Welfare Summit in October!

The Northeast Adoption & Child Welfare Summit is just a little over a month away! Healing children and adolescents with adverse life experiences requires a concerted effort at many levels across multiple sectors. The Northeast Adoption & Child Welfare Summit brings together expert speakers, adoptive and foster parents, professionals, and church leaders to be trained, encouraged and build new networks that will strengthen efforts to better care for vulnerable children, adolescents, and their families. There will also be 50+ breakout sessions! By attending this summit, your community will be better prepared to care for vulnerable children and families who have [...]

September 2nd, 2016|Tags: , , , |

CAFO Webinar on Common Pitfalls to Avoid When Launching and Leading an Orphan Care Ministry in Your Church

This Wednesday, August 31st, Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) will host a webinar entitled, "Three Principles to Consider & Common Pitfalls to Avoid When Launching and Leading an Orphan Care Ministry in Your Church." The goal of your ministry is sustainability, not speed. It's not necessarily to do many things as much as it's about doing the right things. The needs of vulnerable children and families are overwhelming and the opportunities to engage are endless. However, as a leader, how do we prioritize the key objectives of our ministry? How do we build in safeguards that keep us focused on [...]

August 29th, 2016|Tags: , |

Listening Hearts. Shifting Focus. Five Tips for Hurdling Over Alternative Orphan Care Conversation Starters

Watching the Olympics, I find myself mesmerized by the skill, timing, and rhythm of the hurdlers. With ease, they keep their momentum moving forward until the finish line is in sight. But what happens when their tempo is suddenly interrupted by an injury or when another athlete unexpectedly comes into their lane? They fall down—sometimes in pain or defeat. Have you ever felt like you are stumbling over a hurdle when talking to someone about a topic that is important to you? Even if you think you know the perfect conversation starter, awkward silence, unsure words, and feeling unprepared in [...]

August 18th, 2016|Tags: , |

CAFO Webinar on Basic Principles of Monitoring and Evaluation

This Wednesday, August 10th, Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) will continue their monthly webinar series, Knowledge + Practice. These webinars translate research into actionable information that OVC care practitioners can implement immediately to elevate the quality of the care they provide. This eighth webinar in the series is called “Basic Principles of Monitoring and Evaluation: Measuring Effectiveness” from 2-3pm Eastern. A child's wellbeing is significantly linked to the quality of care he or she receives.  But how do we know if care is quality?  How do we know whether the vision we have outlined is truly being accomplished in the [...]

August 8th, 2016|Tags: , , |

Launch of New Report on Cash Transfers Promoting Social Protection Work for Children’s Care

Last week Family for Every Child, in partnership with the Centre for Social Protection at the Institute for Development Studies, launched a new report on the relationship between cash transfers and protection of children by families. The research, jointly produced by Family for Every Child’s member organizations Uyisenga Ni Imanzi (Rwanda), Challenging Heights (Ghana) and Children in Distress Network (South Africa), shows that effective high-quality governmental cash transfer programs can improve children’s well-being, protection and care by their families. It also shows that poorly designed cash transfer schemes can do more harm than good. In order for cash transfers to [...]

August 2nd, 2016|Tags: , |

Foster Care in Panama: Our Journey

Growing up in the U.S. I dreamed of moving to Africa to start an orphanage. But I met and married my husband at a young age, and in 2008 we moved to Panama City, Panama, with our then three-year-old daughter. Our new Panamanian church had a volunteer program that involved holding babies and playing with children in local orphanages. When I signed up I didn’t know anything about institutionalization (what a mouthful), attachment disorder, or alternative care. It didn’t take more than a few visits to see the children were not thriving. They didn’t respond like their peers living outside [...]

July 25th, 2016|Tags: , |

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