At the Forefront of Foster Care in India
In many countries around the world, the standard practice for children who are abandoned or relinquished is to place them into institutional care. Long-term stays in orphanages, however, can lead to both physical and emotional harm to a child. There is plenty of research on the topic of course, but all of us at LWB have seen firsthand the difference it makes in a child’s life when they are instead given the opportunity to be raised in family-based care.
This difference is why we helped set up foster care in 22 Chinese cities. It’s why we created our Safe Haven foster care program for children in Cambodia who’ve faced trafficking and severe abuse. It’s the reason we’ve worked so hard to move children in Uganda from orphanage care into loving foster homes. When family-based care for vulnerable children is done WELL (and that means great local oversight, careful vetting of foster families, and making a commitment to meet the individual needs of each child) — it’s truly life-changing.
One location, however, has presented us with many challenges in establishing foster care. The number of orphaned children in India is estimated in the millions, but for a whole host of reasons, including the ancient caste system, formal foster care has not taken hold. In 2016, the government posted the first national guidelines for foster care. Soon after, we began speaking with dozens of local charities around the country trying to establish a family-based care system for abandoned children.
India is known for having a wee bit of red tape, so we’ll just say that some of the conversations went on for years. But we never gave up trying because we believe so fully that every child deserves a family.
Finally, in early 2019, we connected with a community organization in rural India who also believed that children deserve to grow up in caring homes instead of crowded institutions. After months of calls, emails, and video meetings, I flew to India last summer, making the long and exciting journey through the mountains of western Odisha. It was there that I met the wonderful head of YCDA, Rajendra Meher, as well as his dedicated team. Soon after, we agreed to partner together to make the expansion of foster care in the region a reality.
It has been a slow and careful process, which is exactly how it should be to ensure that every child’s placement prioritizes their best interests. I’m so happy to report that the children placed into foster families in Odisha have truly thrived. It’s been wonderful to see local officials support family-based care as well. Several children who were originally slated to enter orphanages were instead approved by the court to go straight into foster families instead. That’s exactly what we want to see on an even bigger scale.
It’s very exciting to know that success in this location can be an example to other regions in India. Resigning children to institutional care doesn’t have to be an automatic first response.
Do you want to be at the forefront of supporting family-based care in India? We’d love for you to partner with us to ensure that even more children can be moved into families, not orphanages. There are currently nine beautiful children in need of monthly sponsors. I’ll introduce them to you below.
You’ll receive monthly updates on your sponsored child, and you can know that you’re taking real action against the harmful practice of institutionalizing vulnerable kids. Join with us to build up foster care in India…because EVERY child counts.
~Amy Eldridge, Chief Executive Officer
Jay and Kian are handsome brothers who are thriving in foster care.
Prior to being placed in a family, the two boys were living in an orphanage after their elderly grandmother surrendered them to institutional care. The boys’ foster parents are completely devoted to these wonderful boys and are making great efforts to support all of their needs.
When Selah and Sophie were placed into foster care, they had not been to school in two years and were in very poor health. The opportunity to live with a foster family has been a wonderful blessing in their life.
Both sisters are now enrolled in school, and their health has improved greatly.
Prior to arriving in foster care, brothers Jalen and Kyler were working in brick kilns (instead of attending school) and were begging to get even their most basic needs met.
Thankfully, a loving and experienced foster family was identified to help care for these boys so that they can be fed, educated and loved.
Aaron’s biological father (a single parent) was unable to care for him and so made the difficult decision to surrender him to institutional care.
Thankfully, Aaron was placed directly into a foster family and will receive adequate care and loving attention.
Sam and Sara were placed into an orphanage a couple of years ago when both of their biological parents passed away.
Very recently, though, a foster care family was identified and now these two beautiful children have been moved out of the orphanage and will be able to grow and thrive in a family environment.
Are you ready to stand with these children to support them in family-based care? If so, please click on their names above or visit our Foster Care sponsorship page to help. Your commitment will make an enormous difference in the life of one of these precious children.
DOUBLE THE GOOD:
Thanks to a generous match offer from a dedicated supporter, all new or increased monthly sponsorships or recurring gifts will be doubled for one year!