Raising Awareness

The engagement and support of many different stakeholders is essential to ensuring a smooth transition process. Raising awareness about the importance of family care and what this means for children helps build shared understanding and a sense of purpose among those who will be impacted by the change, as well as those who will be asked to participate in bringing the changes about. This includes residential care staff, board members, and volunteers; donors, short-term mission teams, and ministry partners; local government, service providers, community leaders and members; and local churches. At the heart of this process is sharing information that helps everyone appreciate how transforming care can better meet the needs of the children, as well as lead to stronger families and communities.

This process may include providing information about the limitations of residential care, the importance of family to child development, and the rights of children to know and be cared for by families. While some audiences may be receptive right away, others may express fear or hesitancy. Affirming the good intentions of all involved, engaging in dialogue, hosting regular forums, and having information readily available helps address such concerns. Other approaches include community sensitization campaigns, small group studies and sermons about family care, and bringing in a consultant to help with messaging or to address specific stakeholder needs. Sharing case studies and stories of organizations that have successfully transitioned to family care demonstrates that change is possible and highlights both the unique contexts and the common elements of the transition process.

Having a clear action plan and business model that outlines the steps of transition as well as the intended outcomes and how these will be monitored and evaluated also provides stakeholders (and especially staff) with a better understanding of the overall process and goals.

Caring for Orphans and Vulnerable Children: A Study Guide for Journeys of Faith and A Facilitator’s Guide Designed to support small group study, each of the six downloadable sessions provides the tools and information needed to engage participants through discussion, readings, videos, group activities, and prayer. The Facilitator’s Guide supports small group leader to organize a study group through a church, school, or mission team, or with friends and family. (Faith to Action Initiative)

Orphan Sunday 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. (Christian Alliance for Orphans)

The Journey of Life: Manual 1 Awareness Workshops Features activities to raise community awareness of the needs of children. Designed for communities with HIV/AIDS; however, activities may be adaptable to helping communities to understand general needs of children. (REPSSI)

Videos

Lost Kites Follows three abandoned kids braving their way, and calls for family restoration. Designed to engage congregations and members of the public in family-based care for orphaned and vulnerable children.

A World Without Orphans: A Documentary Dialogue to Engage the Church in the Pursuit of a World Without Orphans Features discussion with people on the front lines of orphan care that is meant to encourage the Church to dialogue about its role in the pursuit of a world without orphans. (World Without Orphans)

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