Guatemala (MNN) — Thanks to a grant from the U.S. government, orphans and vulnerable children in Guatemala will soon have options.
Right now, children who are abandoned or removed from their home because of abuse or neglect are placed in institutional care. As a result, thousands of kids live in orphanages throughout Guatemala.
In recent days, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded Buckner International nearly $1 million to develop programs that will provide permanent family solutions for these kids.
USAID’s grant provides funding for a two-year Buckner-initiated project called Fostering Hope Guatemala. The project’s goals include deinstitutionalizing 103 young children, creating a team of experts to manage children’s cases, training and equipping the Guatemalan government to develop foster care and kinship care programs, as well as developing a system to manage and track data on children and foster families.
“The ideas of foster care and formal kinship care are fairly new concepts in most places in the world,” stated Randy Daniels, Buckner Vice President of International Resource and Program Development in a Buckner press release. “Guatemala is no exception.
“The current option in Guatemala for a child is, regardless of age, to be placed in institutional care. This grant provides the financial resources to move forward with a foster care and kinship care model that is based on best practices supported by research.”
Education will be an important component of the effort, he adds.
“Buckner will be hosting seminars to train the highest government officials on the issues surrounding institutionalization of children and the benefits of family-based care, says Daniels.
“Buckner will also work with the government to develop a curriculum for training social workers and other professionals involved in all aspects of child placement.”
The award supports USAID’s investments in the newly-signed Action Plan For Children in Adversity, the first strategic guidance on international assistance for children in adversity.
The Action Plan has three principal objectives:
1. Build Strong Beginnings: Increasing the percentage of children surviving and reaching full developmental potential.
2. Put Family Care First: Reducing the percentage of children living outside of family care.
3. Protect Children: Reducing the percentage of girls and boys exposed to violence and exploitation.
The Fostering Hope Guatemala award supports Objective 2, attempting to reduce the percentage of children living outside of family care.
Pray for opportunities to share the Gospel through this program.
To learn more about Buckner’s extensive work in Guatemala, click here.
Dear Buckner International,
I have been to Guatemala twice in the last three years and am currently planning another visit this March or April. Until recently, my primary experience has been in assisting my friends with feeding programs for poor families/communities in and around Guatemala City; and education/instruction of youth in Chiquimuilla area schools (southern Guatemala). Our trip next month is focusing on teaching and hands-on basic gardening-horticultural methods, composting, orgranic agriclture, and marketing; among other areas. I would be happy to send you my contact information and resume, if you are interested.
Long-term, we are in the process of building resources and support for a home/sanctuary for orphans and widows within Guatemala and would like to apply for some grant funds from your organization. Our basic format and mission has been defined (and I can share it with you, if you are interested), but basically we’re attempting to connect the orphans and widows, in a safe environment (sanctuary), because they naturally go together – one caring and uplifting the other….with us middle-aged folks, tasked to care for both. I often think this is why these precious groups of people (in any society) are mentioned together so many times, in the Bible. This home could also serve as an interim residence for those orphans (or elderly widows) to eventually be accepted into foster families.
Please respond at your earliest convenience and thanks very much for your time and consideration.
Steve Oberle, Ph.D.