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Mar 6, 2019

I saw her transform before my eyes...

Foster mother and foster children
Foster mother and foster children

While our team in Thailand was recently visiting Vieng Ping to deliver some training, we interviewed one of the foster parents who had taken in a child from the orphanage…

“There was a little girl at the children’s home who had special medical issues. I noticed she was always alone – she ate separately, she didn’t play with the other children and she slept apart from the others. She cried constantly and especially going to and from school. My heart went out to her. I have always thought of myself as an ugly duckling and someone who didn’t always fit in, so I felt a deep compassion for this little one. After I received permission to foster her, I made sure that she knew that she could be right by my side and I was happy that she was close to me. I sat her right next to me when we ate together, I took her everywhere I went, and I gave her constant love and warmth. I saw her transform before my eyes. 

“The day they told me they had found her an adoptive family in the US, I cried and cried and I thought my heart would never recover, but I knew this was a wonderful opportunity for her to be part of a long-term family. I never forgot her. She has a permanent place in my heart. I wasn’t sure if she remembered me but several years ago I received a message from her saying that she had been trying to find me for some time. She wanted me to know how well she was doing and that she has had a wonderful family life and she has never forgotten the love I showed her.”

Once again, thank you for your support and staying connected to our work.

Feb 14, 2019

"It made me think about the children..."

Workshop participant in full flow
Workshop participant in full flow

In December, Care for Children held the final two ‘Introduction to Foster Care’ workshops for government officials at the provincial and local levels, including staff from the two Social Protection Centres (orphanages) that are part of this pilot project. In total, 82 people attended the training.

The training, which aimed to raise awareness about foster care and its benefits, was delivered in an extremely interactive and participatory way, engaging the participants through a mix of case studies, small group discussions and brainstorms.

“It made me think about the children, knowing that when they receive love, they develop much better.” Participant

In March, the team will begin the delivery of eight workshops for staff at the two Social Protection Centres. This training will enable them to become family placement workers who can recruit, assess and train suitable foster carers from the local community, as well as place, support and monitor children as they move into families. Over the second half of the year, they will also receive tailored, on-site training every two weeks to walk them through their first placements.

Our ultimate goal is to for the two Social Protection Centres to launch successful family placement programmes – becoming the first government-run orphanages in the country to begin the process of moving orphaned and abandoned children into local foster families. This will serve as inspiration and a blueprint for all other orphanages across Vietnam.

Once again, thank you for your support and staying connected to our work.

Feb 13, 2019

You helped change an entire community

Staff of Chengdu Social Welfare Institution
Staff of Chengdu Social Welfare Institution

Care for Children is supporting Social Welfare Institutions (orphanages) across China to transition to community-based care.  This means expanding their services to support children and families in the surrounding communities. The first step is supporting children who have been placed in foster families, as well as those who remain in the institution. The next step is to open up their services to all children and their families in the community, particularly those who are vulnerable and at risk of being abandoned. 

Chengdu Social Welfare Institution in Sichuan Province has developed one of the best models of community-based care across China. With more and more children moved out of the institution and placed into local families, in 2011 the institution started repurposing its facilities accordingly. They have established a kindergarten within the institution with over 100 children. Not only does it provide much needed early childhood education but it also allows children within the institution to mix with children in the community.  

They have also redirected their funds and resources to build community resource centres within those communities where the majority of children have been placed. As well as a base for the family placement workers, from where they can manage their caseload of children, here children can access a variety of services such as rehabilitation, independent living classes, and special education.  

Before 2010, the institution was providing special education to roughly 20% of children with additional needs in the surrounding communities. By encouraging foster mothers to become special education teachers and forming mother-teacher teams, they are proud to report that all children with additional needs are now receiving special education.  

To support children, especially those with disabilities, into independence, the institution has also developed vocational skills training programme. They currently offer bakery training and plan to develop courses in soap making, pottery and farming. One of the former children at the institution – who went on to work for the bakery department of the Shanghai Shangri-la hotel – has even returned to help with the teaching. 

Parents also have access to training such as positive communication with children and how to care for children with disabilities. As well as improving the success of family placements, it is hoped that over time the community resource centres will result in less children being abandoned in the first place.     

Your support of Care for Children helped start all of this. Because of you, Chengdu Social Welfare Institution  was able to begin a foster care programme that both changed the lives of the children placed in foster homes and gave its staff the time and energy to create systemic change. Thank you for your generosity.

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