Orphans into foster families in Thailand

by Care for Children
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Orphans into foster families in Thailand
Raising awareness of foster care
Raising awareness of foster care

Your support has ensured we can continue delivering specialised training and support to orphanages across Thailand. This means children can be moved out of orphanages and placed into local, loving foster families.

The pandemic continues to present challenges to our projects. However we have been encouraged to hear that the Thai government has been promoting emergency foster care placements for children who have been impacted via COVID, and our team has been asked to advise them on this. 

The Shelters for Children and Families, which are located right across the country, will be at the forefront of this provision. Care for Children is in the process of training all 77 shelters in foster care. Training started at the beginning of the year and will finish this December.

Instead of referring children who have lost parents due to the pandemic to orphanages, the shelters will place these children into local, loving foster families. For those children whose parents have COVID and are too unwell to care for them, the shelters will organise temporary care for them, through family members or foster families in the community.

We're also excited to see the Thai government launch its new promotional materials to raise awareness of foster care, including information on how to apply to become foster parents! This is key to reducing stigma towards taking care of a child with whom there is no blood relationships. We’re hoping the distribution of these materials will lead to a significant increase in the number of applying to become foster parents.

This pandemic reminds us all that children are far better off in safe, secure and loving family environments. 

Thank you for your support and staying connected to our work.

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Care for Children’s country project teams have had to think on their toes over the last 18 months, rearranging their calendars, changing training programmes, and adapting to a more online approach to their work. There are internet hic-cups here and there but for the most part the training has gone ahead according to our original schedule.

As we continue to develop our digitalisation tools and strategy (which we started before COVID!), for our new vision for ‘a world of children in families’, we have also found it a useful insight into how online training could be managed. Here are a few reflections from the past 18 months:

Relationships are still our priority

Online training is making it possible to not only do the training, but also continue and even build relationships with the participants, even though we are not able to meet together in person. We can see that everyone is getting much more adept with their on-line training skills too!

Extra effort on both sides

One day the internet went down during a training session. Our training team had to request that the training be postponed that day, and were delighted when all the participants were willing to change their own schedules so we could fit the training in on another day.

Making it fun

Participants have expressed that they enjoy the training and our novel training atmosphere. Lots of fun tools, such as apps, that are used to make the training engaging and keep interest high. We have quizzes and competitions throughout the training and at the end of training week those who have earned prizes can expect to get a little surprise in the mail!

Keeping it real

Case studies are used so that the participants can see how the theory of running foster care is carried out in practice. For example, participants use these case studies to plan how they would run a foster care program. It is a great way to practice all the intricacies of doing recruitment, assessment, care planning, child and family preparation, follow-up and contact with birth families. We get lots of positive feedback from the participants and comments about how much they enjoy working with the case studies. They use the same case throughout each process, and it’s common to receive feedback from participants commenting that they almost feel like they personally know the child and family by the end of the training.

Staying creative

In one case in the Thai project, the training team were surprised and delighted to see how well the participants did at creating an on-line life story book. When they do this activity in person they can sit and cut out photos and draw, but since working online they have to use a different set of tools and skills – and the results were very impressive.

Thank you for your support and staying connected to our work.

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Our head trainer, Poy, on Zoom
Our head trainer, Poy, on Zoom

Thailand’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been swift and determined, resulting in a relatively a small number of cases and deaths. From April to December, the daily rate of new COVID infections was usually less than ten cases a day. Before the start of the New Year break, we drew up plans for 2021, which included delivering training workshops to the 77 ‘shelters for children and families’ across the country, over 31 weeks of the year.

There shelters are often the first point of contact for children when they enter the care system and provide a vital service for children in moments when they're desperate for support. If the shelter is unable to send the child back home to their family or find relatives to care for the child, it is very likely that the child will be sent to a government orphanage where they may remain for a long period of time. Therefore, our goal is train them in foster care, so that they can place children into safe, stable, and nurturing family environments, rather than into long-term insttitonal care.

In order to complete this training, we divided the 71 provinces into eight regions and the team had planned on being on the road a lot! However after a spike in infections in December, we had to rethink our plans. Virtual training seems to be the answer. While many of us can take pride that we acquired some Zoom skills in 2020, not everyone has done so, so training via Zoom seems rather daunting. We are hugely grateful for all the tutorials on YouTube and with lots of trial and error we are trying to learn how we might pull this off.

Our head trainer, Poy, reached out to some of the people from the Shelters who had been part of our training last year, to be our ‘Zoom training guinea pigs’. We all joined online for a Foster Care Zoom Training Masterclass! It was a fun hour and needless to say there were lots of echoes of “you’re on mute” and “I can’t find the chat box”.

We are now preparing to start virtual training this month. We are hoping that by July we can resume in-person training, if the situation permits. 

This epidemic has affirmed that children are better off in families, rather than in orphanages. If you would consider supporting us again in the future, we would be extremely appreciative. Thank you for staying connected to our work.

A practice Zoom training session
A practice Zoom training session
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Training in progress
Training in progress

Thailand’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been swift and determined, resulting in a relatively a small number of cases and deaths. With lockdown and hygiene rules being implemented, the spread of the virus has been limited. Due to the minimal physical contact in Thai culture (e.g. the Wai as greeting, rather than a handshake or hug) and the fact that wearing masks is not unusual, the public’s response has been almost natural. We are pleased to announce that our training is now taking place again, although with stringent safety procedures in place.

In July, Care for Children’s Thai training team started delivering training to six emergency shelters, giving them the knowledge and skills required to set-up and run their own foster care programme. 

These shelters are often the government’s first point of contact for children when they enter the care system and provide a vital service for children in moments when they're desperate for support. The shelters have no training or experience in foster care. Therefore, if the shelter is unable to send the child back home to their family or find relatives to care for the child, the child is automatically sent to the nearest government orphanage. In addition to being detrimental to their health and well-being, when transferred to an orphanage, children are often moved far away from their home province, in the process severing ties with their family, local culture, dialect and community.

Consequently, we have developed this new project working with Thailand’s emergency shelters. So far this year, the team have delivered nine workshops to six shelters. These shelters will lead the way, serving as inspiration and a blueprint for all other shelters across Thailand as the training is rolled out nationwide in 2021.

This epidemic has affirmed that children are better off in families, rather than in orphanages. If you would consider supporting us again in the future, we would be extremely appreciative. Thank you for staying connected to our work.

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Foster family
Foster family

What a difference a few months make! We sent out our last update in early February, which detailed why ‘Life Story’ work is so important to Care for Children’s training and the children who are fostered or adopted.

As you know, we are working with Child Welfare Homes (orphanages) across Thailand, training them in family care (adoption and foster care) so that they can set and run their own family care programmes. This means they can move children out of the orphanage and into the safe, secure and loving environment of a local family.

The current epidemic has put our training on hold, although the team have been extremely busy refining our training materials and planning for the next phase of our work. With restrictions easing in Thailand, we are now gearing up to resume our training! 

The impact of COVID-19 has had far-reaching implications for all of us. As the virus has spread across the world, we have faced new challenges, including physical and psychological health risks, school and business closures, family confinement, isolation and economic vulnerability.

Children within orphanages are particularly vulnerable to serious infectious illnesses. Orphanages tend to be extremely crowded and infections spread swiftly. As well as COVID-19, these include respiratory tract infections, intestinal parasites, and tuberculosis.

This epidemic has affirmed that children are better off in families, rather than in orphanages. If you would consider supporting us again in the future, we would be extremely appreciative. Thank you for staying connected to our work.

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Care for Children

Location: Norwich, Norfolk - United Kingdom
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Twitter: @careforchildren
Project Leader:
James Paul
Norwich, Norfolk United Kingdom
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