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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, [...]

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 [...]

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, [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

CAFO Webinar on Common Pitfalls to Avoid When Launching & 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 [...]

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 [...]

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: , |

CAFO Webinar on Caring for Caregivers

Tomorrow, Wednesday, July 20th, 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 seventh webinar in the series is called “Caring for Caregivers: A Critical Component of Improving Child Wellbeing” from 2-3pm Eastern.  Research and common knowledge both suggest that the most influential relationship in a child's life is with his or her caregiver.  A strong caregiver relationship can limit the effects of trauma, increase a child's confidence and independence, [...]

July 19th, 2016|Tags: , , , |

Webinar on New Tools for Orphan Sunday!

Next Wednesday, July 13th, Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) will host a webinar highlighting new resources and tools that are available to help with your Orphan Sunday planning for 2016! Whether you are planning an event for the first time or a coordinator veteran, you don't want to miss this important information! You will hear from several amazing speakers, including Faith to Action sharing more about the Journeys of Faith study series. This webinar will be packed with great new programs, ideas and what's happening around the world and right next door. The webinar will take place from 2-3pm EDT. [...]

July 6th, 2016|Tags: , , , |

From Vulnerability to Resilience: Promoting Graduation in OVC Programs

Sponsored by the OVC Task Force and AVSI, an event titled "From Vulnerability to Resilience: Promoting Graduation in OVC Programs" will bring together policy makers, researchers and OVC practitioners to discuss key concepts and principles related to graduation models applied to OVC programs. The two programs to be presented include the SCORE project, implemented by AVSI in Uganda, and the FXB Village Model from Rwanda. Learning about these two programs will illustrate the graduation concept, how it is being used, and generate an agenda for action and further research. This event will be a first-of-its kind occasion to discuss graduation [...]

June 29th, 2016|Tags: , , , |

Global Social Service Workforce Alliance Symposium: Strengthening the Continuum of Care for Vulnerable Children and Families

The 3rd Annual Global Social Service Workforce Alliance Symposium is less than 2 weeks away! The Symposium will provide a forum to discuss efforts to strengthen the social service workforce and advance systems and services for children and families. Presentations will focus on ways in which planning, developing and supporting the social service workforce have changed over the past five years and have led to more effective services to children and families and a stronger continuum of care. The event will be held in Washington, DC on June 2nd from 9am to 12pm EDT, but will also be available via [...]

May 19th, 2016|Tags: , |

Two Stories of Transforming Good Intentions into Best Practices

"Be brave, be fierce, be visionary. Mend the parts of the world that are within your reach. To live this way is the most dramatic gift you can ever give to the world. Consider yourselves assigned.” - Your Assignment by Clarissa Pinkola Estes Even without reading her words, many impassioned young people have taken the poet’s assignment to heart. When these individuals are confronted with the brokenness of the world, seldom are they content to ignore it. There comes a deep desire to restore what is broken. For many, Christians in particular, this desire is manifested in a calling to [...]

May 18th, 2016|Tags: , , , |

Short-Term Missions Guidance Manual and Toolkit from ACCI

Our partner ACCI International Missions & Relief recently released the publication of their Protecting Children in Short-Term Missions: A Guidance Manual and Toolkit for Churches and Christian Organisations, designed for those who are passionate about missions and engaging people through short-term mission (STM) teams, and who committed to pursuing God’s heart for children and vulnerable members of society in the context of global missions. Developed in collaboration with Better Volunteering Better Care, an initiative co-chaired by the Better Care Network and Save the Children UK, the principles explored in the manual are drawn from the Bible, best practice concepts, as [...]

May 13th, 2016|Tags: , , , |

CAFO Summit May 5-6th!

The CAFO Summit has become the national hub for what Christianity Today called, “the burgeoning Christian orphan care movement.” Last year’s conference drew 2,500 foster and adoptive parents, orphan advocates, pastors and leaders from 30 countries. Faith to Action was honored to attend. Together, we explored effective foster care, adoption, family preservation and global orphan ministry. CAFO 2016 will include unforgettable plenary sessions with top national and global speakers, stirring music, workshops, and an array of one-of-a-kind experiences you won’t find anywhere else. This year, Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO), in partnership with the Faith to Action Initiative, is sponsoring [...]

April 26th, 2016|Tags: , , |

World Without Orphans Global Forum Resources

The World Without Orphans Global Forum was held in Chiang Mai, Thailand in February. The forum brought together 450 orphan care leaders from over 60 countries for this first-ever Global Forum. Weren't able to attend in person? Not to worry! Here are some wonderful resources from the forum: Videos: Global Forum 2016 Keynote Presentations Videos: Key Steps for the Church towards a World Without Orphans Booklet: Vision for a World Without Orphans. This short booklet captures the vision, cornerstones and global strategies of the movement towards a world without orphans. Booklet: Roles for Churches. The purpose of this [...]

April 21st, 2016|Tags: , |

Better Care Network Launches a New Online Community of Practice for Eastern and Southern Africa

Better Care Network (BCN) recently launched its new online community of practice, Care To Practice: supporting children's care practitioners in Eastern and Southern Africa. This online collaborative is designed to support practitioners who are working on family-strengthening and children's alternative care in the Eastern and Southern Africa region. Since 2013, BCN has been collaborating with a number of regional and national organizations and bodies to support family-strengthening and improved alternative care for children in Eastern and Southern Africa through its Regional Initiative on Children without Appropriate Family Care. This online community of practice was developed in response to calls from [...]

March 28th, 2016|Tags: , , |

A Place to Call Home, A Person(s) to Call Family

Millions of children in Africa are growing up in orphanages, residential care centers, and children’s homes. Most of these institutions identify themselves as “homes” and “family” to these children. But are these residential care institutions really “home” or “family”? I grew up in an institution, and it didn’t feel like a family and I didn’t have the feeling that I was home. On the contrary, the place gave me a feeling of emptiness, uncertainty, and confusion. My two siblings (younger sister and older brother) were taken to a hospital, then to an institution after our mother was killed. On her [...]

March 22nd, 2016|Tags: , , , , |

CAFO Webinar on Protecting Vulnerable Children with Wise & Honoring Media

Next Wednesday, March 16th, Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) will launch the sixth in a  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 webinar is called “Protecting Vulnerable Children with Wise and Honoring Media" and will take place next Wednesday from 2-3pm Eastern.  Films and photos are a critical part of advocacy.  Oftentimes, it is through sharing stories and images of vulnerable children that we are able to inspire a heart for caring for the fatherless.  However, despite [...]

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 wide [...]

February 23rd, 2016|Tags: , , , |
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