Training team & participants from recent workshop
Our year started with a National Foster Care Meeting, bringing together 75 delegates from the child welfare homes (orphanages) across Thailand and senior government officials. We were privileged to hear stories from the heroes of our work – the foster families and children they care for. Tales of transitions and tears, adjustments and achievements, and life-long bonds being formed, inspired those working with the vulnerable children of Thailand to keep moving towards a goal of transitioning from institutional care to family-based care.
We were encouraged to be asked by the Thai government to expand our training of foster care to include nine additional child welfare homes. These homes are more specialized as they look after children who have been abused, trafficked, abandoned, neglected and those children who have behavioural issues and mental health problems. Initially it was thought that it would be too difficult to place these children in families, but over time there has been a greater understanding that all children deserve a chance to grow up in a safe, loving family environment and this group of children could greatly benefit from the consistent care that a foster family can give.
There is much to learn when moving children from within the confines of the orphanage walls and out into the community.
The participants who took part in training this year appreciated the opportunity to make site visits and hear the rich testimonies of foster parents who know first-hand how to make a child feel like a valuable member of a family. Throughout the training there was opportunity for participants to envisage the children in their care moving in with local families and learning ways they could support and assist to ensure a stable placement.
Another focus throughout the year was to help equip foster care workers with the skills and confidence to be able to train the foster parents in their programmes. Bringing foster families together is such a simple way of encouraging, inspiring and equipping them with the skills they need to parent the children in their care. Thai people live by the principle that life should be “saduak, sanook and sabii” or comfortable, convenient and fun, and training sessions are designed to include all three. I don’t think I have ever been to a training session with foster parents where it hasn’t included side-splitting laughter, dancing and parading, and a sense that they are one huge supportive family.
Once again, thank you for your support and staying connected to our work. We hope you will consider supporting this project again in 2019.