- Christians are Called to Respond. We recognize that the teachings of the Christian faith call believers to serve the poor, the sick, and the vulnerable; and many Christians are responding to the needs of orphans and vulnerable children. Around the world, indigenous churches are ministering with great compassion and courage to the increasing numbers of vulnerable children.
- Children Grow Best in Families and Thrive in Community. The family is the most essential source of love, belonging, emotional support, cognition, physical sustenance, and spiritual guidance in the lives of children. The best way to meet the needs of vulnerable children is to strengthen the capacity of their families and communities to permanently care for their well-being and every effort should be made to do so.
- An Orphanage Cannot Replace Family Care. While an institution may serve as a response for children in crisis, it cannot be a sufficient solution. Orphanages are incapable of addressing the scale of the crisis and unable to meet the developmental, holistic, and long-term needs of individual children; and its use, if at all, should be monitored, temporary, and transitional. For children outside of parental care, every effort must be made to support family-based solutions to ensure nurturing and consistent family care. This includes reunification, kinship care, temporary foster family care, and adoption as alternatives to institutionalization.
- Local Solutions Help Communities Address Their Own Needs. Local churches, ministries, and community initiatives are in the best position to identify and respond to children and families in the greatest need. Successful programming for orphans and vulnerable children grows from partners who are committed to learning, relationship building, honoring the integrity of the local community, building up and standing in solidarity with local leaders, and engaging with humility and cross-cultural understanding.
- Long-term Partnerships Create Sustainable Change. Meeting the needs of orphans and vulnerable children is often best accomplished through partnerships with the local communities and ministries who are leading the day-to-day responses. Partnerships done well can transform lives and communities, and create sustainable change. Successful partnerships are based on local empowerment and community ownership. Partnerships in the best interest of children are long-term and focus on strengthening families and helping local churches and communities provide support that helps children remain in families.
- Effective Responses Rely on Best Practice. Interventions and partnerships must be guided by principles and strategies based on excellent practice that is culturally appropriate. To ensure responses contribute to meaningful and lasting change, they should be guided by sources that offer an experienced and evidence-based perspective, are ethical, and grounded in transparency and accountability. While there are important overarching principles of practice, participants must consider specific goals, strengths, and resources to navigate a course of action.
- Child and Family Voice is Critical for Positive Engagement. It is important to listen to the voices of children and families, respond to their concerns, and involve them in meaningful decisions that affect their lives, such as placement and family-related matters. When families are empowered, they can better protect their children. The most effective programs recognize the importance of children to participate in ways appropriate to their age and maturity.