FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Contact: Heather Douglass

SAN FRANCISCO, April 14, 2022 — The Faith to Action Initiative and members of its coalition today implored those working on the ground in and around Ukraine to prioritize providing family-strengthening-focused support to the children and families impacted by the current crisis.

“The loss and trauma that the people of Ukraine are experiencing are unimaginable. As millions of children lose their homes and the lives they knew, there is an urgent need to provide support to keep them in families where they can be loved and find hope, said Karmen Friesen, principal coordinator at World Without Orphans. “Therefore, we strongly encourage organizations and churches to provide wrap-around support to families in crisis and to do everything possible to strengthen families during this critical time. Children who have faced the hardships of war can ultimately thrive when supported with the love of Christ in safe and loving families.“

“Support for vulnerable children and families in Ukraine is needed now more than ever. Tragically, war creates orphans and halts adoptions. It displaces families and puts children at risk for child trafficking,” said Heather Dyer, executive director of A Family for Every Orphan. “For the health of a child and a nation, children must be raised in families. Strengthening families to allow them to care for their children and increasing efforts to identify kin to care for orphans is necessary to protect and prevent children from entering institutional care. Before the war, Ukraine had over 100,000 children in institutional care. Nearly 95% have a family. The great need for support for families is now even greater.” 

“More than a million children have been forced to leave their homes in Ukraine in an attempt to find safety in another country. Crisis situations like this are known to increase the risk of separation of children and their families, but separation can be avoided in many cases if vulnerable families receive the proper support and guidance,” said Elli Oswald, executive director of the Faith to Action Initiative. “Child welfare and other humanitarian aid organizations that are on the ground assisting refugees must seek out and follow best practice guidelines for keeping children with their families and for helping already-separated children to be reunited with their kin.”

“At Bethany, our faith in Jesus compels us to care for the orphan, the widow, and the foreigner. It is critical that we direct our efforts to provide support for the millions of children and families in Ukraine who have been forced to evacuate and relocate from their country, and focus on keeping them together. The Church has a tremendous opportunity to come together to serve these vulnerable children by supporting efforts that will ultimately strengthen their families and give them hope for the future,” said Chris Palusky, president and CEO of Bethany Christian Services.

“We grieve for the millions of Ukrainians currently displaced because of the ongoing violence in their nation, and we mourn alongside those who have lost loved ones and face growing uncertainty. At this critical moment, we must focus our efforts and resources on reunifying children with their living relatives, keeping them together, and strengthening their families,” said Myal Greene, president and CEO of World Relief.

“The global outpouring of concern and support for the children of Ukraine is uplifting during this dark time. At Changing the Way We Care, we are working closely with our partners in Moldova and the region who are supporting the safety and well-being of children fleeing the violence. We know that during such displacement children are at high risk of being separated from their families or caregivers. It is important that all humanitarian actors work to connect and reunite children with their families, and to provide those families with the resources they need, with the greatest urgency,” said Anne Smith, global director, Changing the Way We Care

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About Faith to Action Initiative

The mission of the Faith To Action Initiative is to mobilize and educate Christian churches, faith-based organizations, and individuals to engage in care that upholds the vital importance of family in a child’s life, as opposed to institutions such as orphanages. The Faith to Action Initiative is a coalition of organizations, including World Vision, Christian Alliance for Orphans, Bethany Christian Services, World Without Orphans, World Relief, Catholic Relief Services and their initiative Changing the Way We Care.