Faith to Action Initiative Partners with the Christian Alliance for Orphans to host Moving Forward: Transitioning, Transforming and Creating New Models of Orphan Care workshop.

On May 1, 2013 the Faith to Action Initiative, in partnership with the Christian Alliance for Orphans, hosted a daylong workshop for over 90 individuals committed to caring for orphans and vulnerable children around the world. As a group, workshop participants represented nearly 60 churches and faith-based organizations working in 51 countries.

Experts from the field shared their experience with identifying and implementing better practice in supporting family and community-based care. One highlight was a panel featuring Tendai Masiriri (Bethany Christian Services), Phil Aspegren (Casa Viva), and Robert Glover (Care for Children) who shared their experiences identifying and implementing better practice in supporting family and community-based care; how they preserved core elements of their organizations essential mission while transitioning approach to care; and their significant challenges to transition and how their organizations were able to overcome them.

People in the audience were particularly moved when Stephen Ucembe with the Kenya Society of Care Leavers , shared his personal experience growing up as an orphan in institutional care and how this impacted his life and relationships.

Participants broke into groups to connect with others serving in their same regions to discuss their biggest challenges and concerns, share innovative ways they are currently supporting family care, and encourage each other in incorporating best practices in their ministries to children and families.

A recurring theme was that there is a real need for more evidence-based information, stories of “lessons learned” and opportunities to gather and share experiences. While the workshop received impressive reviews, it was only a beginning step for many who are eager to dig deeper into the issues raised. Transitioning from orphanages to family care is not easy, and many participants noted that they were happy to learn that they were “not alone” as they struggle with the challenges of new approaches. Through our website, resources, upcoming new materials and future workshops, the Faith to Action Initiative will continue to address what is clearly a growing need in the Christian community serving orphans and vulnerable children.

Conference attendee Mary Hoyt shared on her listserv: I attended the pre-summit intensive titled “Moving Forward: Transitioning, Transforming, and Creating New Models of Orphan Care.” The day was facilitated by the Faith to Action Initiative, which I highly recommend as a leader and guide…Their booklets From Faith to Action and Journeys of Faith are beautiful, easy to read, inspiring, and free online! Each presentation was well-crafted and clearly sent the message of what our priorities should be, why, and a few how-to’s.