| Aug 29, 2019
How foster care can transform a community
Khon Kaen, northern Thailand
In this update, we'll introduce Jane Arnott, our Country Manager in Thailand, and share an incredible story of how our work is making long-term sustainable impact for communities across rural Thailand.
Jane has spent over 20 years in Thailand working alongside orphaned and abandoned children. As a foster parent herself, she has cared for 64 children in her own home. She's been part of the Care for Children team in Thailand since 2015, helping with the national roll-out of the project across the country.
In Thailand, the impact of foster care as a positive alternative to institutional care has radically changed the way that vulnerable children are being cared for. Jane shares a story from a recent visit to an orphanage (known locally as a child welfare home) of a radical new approach to supporting foster families.
In April of 2018, we started delivering training to the Northeast Child Welfare Protection Institution in Khon Kaen. It's one of the nine child welfare homes across the country which the government asked us to train last year, and has rapidly developed an exciting foster care programme. There are now ten foster families who currently care for eleven different children of all ages.
The Director of the home, Prapai Khamvut, has always been a great advocate for foster care and she knows how much the children long to be part of a family.
This child welfare home for older boys is supporting foster families in several rural communities, where agriculture is the mainstay of the community. Each family benefits from monthly visits from family placement workers, trained by Care for Children, ensuring every foster child receives the best possible care. The foster care system creates opportunity to provide holistic support to foster families as well as the fostered children, and Prapai and the home identified a unique way of doing this.
There are over 5,000 children still living in government-run orphanages. It's a huge number, but the solution starts with small, innovative ideas to ensure each child can be raised in their own foster family.
With this in mind, the child welfare home have been rearing cows and pigs and decided to donate them to the foster families. This provides an amazing way to say thank you to the families, as well as an excellent opportunity for the foster children to take on new responsibilities, raising and nurturing their own animals. It was also a unique way to provide financial support to the families, hoping to encourage more families to welcome children into their homes.
This month six cows and several pigs were split between nine families. The families will rear the animals and will either sell any offspring or give them to new foster families.
Jane, Care for Children's Country Manager in Thailand, said "I think this idea of encouraging and supporting the families with cows and pigs is a brilliant one! There are so many life lessons the boys can learn by helping their foster parents care for these animals – responsibility and financial planning being just two of them."
We're committed to giving every child a family because it's the best place for children to grow and explore the world around them. These opportunities wouldn't be possible without the transformation that has taken place in child welfare in Thailand. Life in an orphanage will always have limits, but a family provides the freedom for a child to thrive.
Once again, thank you for your support and staying connected to our work.