Honduras (Orphan Outreach) — In the United States, trust-based trauma care is the norm rather than the exception in behavioral therapy for vulnerable children who have been impacted by family dysfunction, abuse, or neglect. Three words–empowerment, connection, and correction–are fast becoming the standards in counseling and support, thanks to the work of Dr. Karen Purvis and the Texas Christian University Institute of Child Development. In developing countries, however, the ability to received training and support is limited, and children may never be given the opportunity to understand and heal.
But in the village of La Paz, Honduras, nurture group training has begun at San Jose Orphanage. Supported by Orphan Outreach, an orphan care ministry working in seven countries globally, the trauma-informed care training has been eagerly anticipated by teachers, counselors, and the ministry’s founder, Sister Edith.
“Even though the caregivers at San Jose long to help children heal and grow, they lack the right training to care for children who have gone through trauma in different levels and areas,” shares Mireya Sevilla, Orphan Outreach Honduran Director. “Truly understanding the children we serve is of the utmost importance, and we believe significant healing can take place when everyone who works with those children is trained to provide consistent therapeutic care. We’re starting with training for nurture groups, which will allow the caregivers and the children to have an interactive role in the healing process.”
Sevilla knows trauma-informed care doesn’t come without challenges. “New methodology always takes time to understand, and investing deeply into the ‘why’ of trauma rather than simply looking at ‘inappropriate behavior’ also takes time. But we are confident that there will be many great improvements in the children’s lives through the use of nurture groups. The staff at San Jose will be able to allow the children to learn and understand that they are loved and they are in a safe place to find healing.”
Trust-based trauma care is part of the continuum of care philosophy embraced by Orphan Outreach. Sevilla believes nurture groups at San Jose are just the beginning. “God is giving us the great honor to be pioneers in this field in many ways, allowing us to work with His guidance to improve care in Honduras. DINAF (Dirección Nacional de la Niñez y la Familia), the new government agency for child welfare, does not at present have the resources to develop or train the private NGOs who are working with the children at risk in Honduras. Working alongside the agency and national ministries, we believe there is opportunity to positively transform the lives of orphans and vulnerable children.”
— Author: Ronne Rock