Americas

Identity Mission: Fostering a Continuum of Family Care Options for Honduran Children

Best practice in caring for orphaned and vulnerable children indicates the need for a continuum of care options for children currently living in—or at risk of being sent to—institutions. While a growing number of ministry leaders, practitioners, and researchers agree that children are best cared for within families, the question of what type of family placement setting looms large. One child may have living parents with whom they can reunite, while another may have no trace of a family. It is God’s inherent love for every child that compels so many to dedicate time and resources to orphans; and it [...]

Identity Mission: Fostering a Continuum of Family Care Options for Honduran Children 2017-09-29T14:59:07+00:00

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 [...]

The Threshold Is a Sacred Space: The Casa Viva Story 2017-01-20T12:30:31+00:00

Casa Viva: Family as Sacred Space

For a child, there is no substitute for the lively discussion, the eye contact, the emotional support, and the affection that take place within families. Jill Aspegren, Co-Executive Director of Casa Viva, offers a compelling appeal to care for children who have been separated from their families: “The time has come for the local church to learn again the ancient art of hospitality—to welcome the guest in the name of Christ. Children know when they have entered the home of a real family—the threshold is a sacred space.” Prior to Casa Viva, Jill and her husband Philip codirected a children’s [...]

Casa Viva: Family as Sacred Space 2017-07-26T16:32:46+00:00

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 [...]

Foster Care in Panama: Our Journey 2017-07-26T16:40:33+00:00

Potter’s House: Transformation Through Livelihood Strengthening

In the garbage dumps of Guatemala, children are born and raised in an environment that can impede human flourishing. They grow up in the middle of society’s waste, which makes it difficult to see a future beyond the desolation. In this community, family culture encourages partnering and starting a family of their own when they reach adolescence, with many children leaving formal education behind by age 12. It is not uncommon for 14-year-olds to begin living with a girlfriend or boyfriend; marriage rituals are rarely celebrated and it is the general custom not to marry. There is widespread lack [...]

Potter’s House: Transformation Through Livelihood Strengthening 2017-09-29T15:00:50+00:00

Bright Hope: Providing Family Support through Church Partnership

Children grow best in families. This is true whether a child is born into great wealth or extreme poverty. However, in far too many communities around the world, it is poverty that is preventing children from growing up in the care of a family. Poverty is a driving force that pushes children into orphanages or thrusts them out into a life on the streets, creating social orphans and vulnerable children. Fortunately, local churches and faith-based NGOs around the world are partnering together and responding to the needs of these children in the best possible way: supporting families to provide for [...]

Bright Hope: Providing Family Support through Church Partnership 2017-07-26T16:40:33+00:00

Family First: A Global Partnership Between Roblealto and Bethany Community Church

Roblealto Child Care Association puts families at the forefront of its work with vulnerable children in San Jose, Costa Rica. Roblealto supports a holistic approach to restore at-risk children to loving and supportive relationships with their parents and provides resources for parents to achieve self-sufficiency for their families. Roblealto’s programs include four child care centers throughout San Jose, group homes, and a youth alumni group to support and empower youth leaving their programs. Child care centers seek to prevent separation of children from their families and strengthen family support systems. They provide a quality education for children and a [...]

Family First: A Global Partnership Between Roblealto and Bethany Community Church 2017-10-06T11:14:33+00:00

Bethany Christian Services Announces New Program in Haiti

Bethany Global, a division of Bethany Christian Services (BCS), announced the launch of social services in Haiti that will serve and support foster care. Partnering with a local church in Port-Au-Prince, Bethany is currently recruiting families to undergo its rigorous foster care training program, and anticipates serving 60 children by summer 2016. In spring 2014, Bethany launched a small project in Haiti called Operation Exodus, working with vulnerable families living in the tent cities around Port-Au-Prince. This project serves to strengthen families through economic and psychosocial support. Relocation to safe housing is a priority, but so is financial sustainability, skills [...]

Bethany Christian Services Announces New Program in Haiti 2017-07-26T16:40:33+00:00

La Providencia: A Lifelong Commitment to Care

Anthony’s* feet swung from the chair, hardly touching the floor. He was eager to talk and happily answered the government-appointed psychiatrist’s questions, unmindful that he was being evaluated. She asked him to draw a picture of where he lived and who lived with him. He drew a picture of his house with a mom and a dad and himself along with six children. The fact that the government considered him an “orphan” wasn’t apparent to him. In his mind, he had a family that loved him and his picture expressed that. This young boy was describing his home at La [...]

La Providencia: A Lifelong Commitment to Care 2017-07-26T16:40:32+00:00

Fostering Hope in Guatemala

In Guatemala, when a child becomes an orphan, is a victim of abuse or exploitation, or is separated from family-based care, the primary response, historically, has been to place that child in a residential care facility. In 2013, UNICEF reported that 5,800 Guatemalan children were living in orphanages with large disparities of caregivers and children. Unfortunately, research shows that there are long-term, and sometimes permanent, negative effects institutional care can have on a child physically, emotionally, cognitively, and socially. Buckner International, a Christian organization working with orphans, vulnerable children, and families, is helping to change those prospects for many children [...]

Fostering Hope in Guatemala 2017-07-26T16:40:32+00:00

Project RED: Empowering Families for Abundant Lives

El Salvador is the most densely populated country in Latin America and has the unfortunate standing as one of the world’s most violent countries. With this reality comes widespread poverty and a breakdown of the family structure across society. Publicly funded programs and an adequate protection system to ensure the wellbeing of children simply do not exist. In 2009, upheaval once again become a reality for orphans living in institutions, with the introduction of a new law called Law for Integral Child and Adolescent Protection (LEPINA), which is drawn from the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. An [...]

Project RED: Empowering Families for Abundant Lives 2017-05-09T14:14:33+00:00

The GO Exchange: Creating Jobs, Giving Hope, Strengthening Families

Makilene was an unemployed mother of six and living in extreme poverty in Haiti. She realized over time that she could no longer care for all her children, so she faced the heartbreaking decision to give up her youngest child and took her child and traveled to Port-Au-Prince. She had heard about a woman named Shelley Clay who helps children. Makilene thought she was knocking on the door of an orphanage for her infant daughter when she arrived in Port-Au-Prince, but a very different opportunity awaited her — one with hope and a future for herself and her family. After [...]

The GO Exchange: Creating Jobs, Giving Hope, Strengthening Families 2017-07-26T16:31:01+00:00

Pioneering Foster Care in Peru

In May 2007, Buckner Peru and Peru's National Comprehensive Family Welfare Program (INABIF) signed an agreement to develop a foster care program. On March 10, 2008, Buckner Peru made history when officials from the Ministry of Women and Social Development and Buckner placed eight Peruvian children into the country’s first foster families. Prior to this significant event, there was no foster care in Peru. Nearly seven years later, children are thriving in families in ways that would have been unknown to them without the foster care option. Their foster care/kinship care model utilizes extended family members to care for the [...]

Pioneering Foster Care in Peru 2017-07-26T16:40:31+00:00
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