Helping families and children in Guatemala.

By November 23, 2006

Guatemala (MNN) — Guatemala suffers from widespread poverty and government instability. Over the years, there’s been an ongoing problem with orphans and street children.

Bill Blacquiere with Bethany Christian Services says Bethany has long supported orphanages and foster care in Guatemala. “International adoption has been active in Guatemala for probably the last 20 years, but it’s also experienced significant difficulties, because it’s both a private and government program.”

The Guatemalan government is looking at making changes to their adoption program, and Blacquiere says it’s for the better, “we see this as a real opportunity for the adoption program to be improved and other services to be delivered in the country that will help families.”

Some of the direct work that Bethany is involved in includes starting a new orphanage and foster care that will help girls 3-7 years old. Their long-term goal is to continue to increase foster care and orphanage care to serve adolescents who have no family to care for them. That’s a major need because many older orphans have to leave the orphanages and go to the streets. That often leads to them becoming victims of exploitation, prostitution or drug running. Many end up committing suicide.

Bethany is committed to working with Christian partners in Guatemala and link North American churches to assist the Guatemalan churches in providing the Gospel as well as physical care of children. One orphanage they’re working with is a Christian orphanage that has plans to establish a Christian school and a church on the property.

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