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Nov 25, 2019

Widening our reach across Thailand

In many countries, children growing up in orphanages is still the norm. We're committed to training orphanage staff to become family placement workers, whereby they are able to move children out of the orphanage and into local foster families. 

In Thailand, government facilities called Child and Family Shelters play an important role in the care of vulnerable children. The Shelters act as ‘gatekeepers’ – the screening process which decides whether a child needs to be taken into care and which care option is most suitable for them. As the first point of contact between government care professionals and the children, the Shelters offer a vital service to children in their most vulnerable moment. 

There are 76 Child and Family Shelters located across Thailand. Staff at the Shelters play an important role in deciding the best method of care for a child moving forwards, liaising with all the key stakeholders to give the children the best care moving forwards. 

Unfortunately, the options that Shelters offer for children are limited. Currently, there are few alternative care options for children so staff often refer children to the nearest orphanage as a default. This puts a major strain on orphanages, as well as not always being in the best interest of the child. 

Last year, we identified these Shelters as a key opportunity to further influence child welfare in Thailand, and play an important role in transitioning the system to place foster care at its heart. While continuing to train orphanages, we began exploring how best to work alongside the Shelters to enable fewer children to enter into orphanages in the first place. 

If foster care is seen as a positive and viable alternative to institutions, then fewer children would have to experience the dangers and challenges of entering an orphanage. So in the last few months we've begun training staff at the Shelters in how to conduct foster care assessments.

"Sometimes we get cases of children to our shelter, and we will be able to screen the case and see if they have someone who is able to take care of them. Perhaps the parents are in prison, or they might have passed away. If our social worker comes across a case like this, they will be able to place these children in foster care. If we can care for these children in foster families, then the children will be able to develop and be a valued part of society."

Mrs Rachaya Hantrakul, Head of the Child and Family Shelter in Chiang Mai.

Shelters provide a vital service for families and children in moments when they're desperate for support, so we're proud to work alongside them. Thanks to your incredible support, we are able to provide ongoing training and support to these Shelters to ensure more children than ever are placed into loving families, where they can be loved and nurtured. 

Nov 5, 2019

The value of a foster family's love

Nana’s biological parents weren’t capable of caring for a baby with a cleft palate, so they abandoned Nana as a new-born. Even though she was placed in foster care as a toddler, Nana grew up carrying the weight of her biological parents’ rejection. She felt her parents didn’t want her and had placed her into an orphanage because she was not good enough. 

Nana thought it was all her fault. She believed she was unlovable. 

But Nana’s foster mother laboured to change Nana’s negative view of herself for years. She worked hard to make Nana feel that she was loved, wanted, and valued in spite of her gender and disability. Nana’s foster mother wanted to help Nana understand that she was not to blame.

Nana couldn’t bring herself to believe her foster mother at first but the foster mother was persistent. 

The love and belief of her foster mother slowly changed Nana. Today, Nana knows that she is loved. She believes that she is important and worthy, and this has changed everything about the way she interacts with the world. Nana doesn’t hide anymore. She is a much more confident child than she was before, taking part in classroom activities and making friends. Nana recently performed the leading role in a school play.

Now that Nana knows she is loved she believes that she matters, and she is happier and healthier because of it. That is the value of a family. 

Your support helps train and equip staff in orphanages to move children such as Nana out of orphanages and into local foster families. Thank you for your support and for staying connected with our work.

Nov 5, 2019

Groundbreaking training in Thai Nguyen

In many countries, children growing up in orphanages is still the norm. We're committed to training orphanage staff to become family placement workers, whereby they are able to move children out of the orphanage and into local foster families. In the coming year, we’re hoping to see the first child placed into a foster family in Vietnam – a monumental milestone!  

In Vietnam's pilot project phase, our basic training consists of ten, two-day workshops. The first two regions to take the training, Hanoi and Thai Nguyen, are now over a third of the way through the initial core training. Read on to find out what our training involves, and why it's key to transforming the lives of orphaned and abandoned children.

The fourth, two-day workshop is composed of four components, including matching children with foster carers; placement of children into foster families; monitoring foster children; and supervision of foster carers. These four components are the fundamental parts of foster care. As they are so interrelated, the training team included all of them in one workshop.

This workshop took place in September in Thai Nguyen. The training equipped the orphanage staff with the skills and knowledge on how to place a child in a foster family, including:

  • The process and principles of matching children with foster families;
  • The potential impact of a placement on a child and how to ensure a successful transition;
  • The importance and process of monitoring children in foster families;
  • The process of providing support and supervision to foster carers.

 Participant quotes:

 “I now understand the importance of matching a child and placing him with a family.”

 “The training was fun and provided us with lots of knowledge. It was also extremely interactive!”

 “I now understand that matching and placement is a long, gradual process to be taken step by step.”

We're excited by how the trainees have grasped the training with enthusiasm, understanding the long term impact that it will have on their work. The aim of the pilot phase is for the two regions to become models of practice for the rest of the country, so the potential impact of these sessions is immeasurable.

Remember, your support make this possible. This training is the first stage in seeing children placed safely into families, and supported well so that they can go on to thrive.

In Vietnam, it costs $70 for an attendee to train one workshop. Thanks to the support of people like you, we can help more people than ever before become family placement workers and transform the future for orphaned and abandoned children across Vietnam.

 
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