Child Care Reboot
What does it mean to really love a child living in an orphanage?
Last time I wrote about how most of the children in the orphanages we support have at least one living parent or close relative (click here to read that update), but that we lacked the knowledge and experience necessary to successfully reintegrate these children back into their families. God has provided us with a solution, and I’m very excited to tell you about it!
Through a mutual friend and partner we learned about Australian Christian Churches International Relief (ACCIR), an organization that has successfully reintegrated children out of institutions into families in 8 countries. After fully investigating their methods, we’ve partnered with them to help us begin the process in Myanmar. ACCIR brings their expertise and methodology, and we bring our contacts and 13 years of experience in Myanmar.
The first step of the process is to persuade orphanage directors to participate, and once on board we help them to compile very detailed information on each child in their care. That includes medical assessments of the children, identity checks through school and family records, finding their parents and other family, and then sending social workers to evaluate the families and relatives to see if the situation is safe and desirable for a child to return to. All this information forms a case file for each child that is used to determine if and how a child is to be reintegrated.
All the children will basically fall into one of three categories, the first being those children who can very easily and safely be reintegrated with their families or relatives.
The second group are those children who are difficult to return to their families due to being separated for so long, poverty that prevents them from being able to care for their children, and other factors. In these cases, we’ll work with the families and communities through micro-loans, parenting training, safe water solutions, education and agricultural projects to improve the home environment.
The remaining group of children are those who aren’t able to be reintegrated because they have no families, or their families are abusive or neglectful. Initially these children will be placed in high-quality, short-term care until a suitable foster family can be found for them.
This process is a huge commitment, one that takes a number of years to fully implement and continues beyond a child’s restoration to their family—but the children are worth it! Three orphanages in Myanmar have already begun the process, and more will be joining very soon. We are very excited about this development, and so thankful that God provided this opportunity at the right time!
So what happens to the orphanages once there’s no more children living in them? And what’s the future look like for Orphan’s Tear Ministry? Good questions…please stay tuned!
Director, Orphan’s Tear Ministry