Wednesday, August 17, 2011

CIF - Pioneering Foster Care in Cambodia

A couple months back I received from my field partner, Cathleen Jones, a copy of the Children in Families program evaluation report that was put together by representatives from Substitute Families for Abandoned Children (SFAC), a UK based organization which exists to help organizations in developing and emerging nations to establish Foster Care and Kinship Care programs. It was really encouraging for me to read this report from an independent source and I want to share some of the highlights.

One of the exciting things for me was to see an outsiders' view of how vital this ministry is. In terms of addressing needs in Cambodia, it really is cutting edge. Here is what the authors of the report had to say: "CIF is pioneering Social Work practice, believing that children have better outcomes in life when raised within families, rather than in institutional care. The development of their family strengthening, Kinship Care and Foster Care programmes is impressive bearing in mind it appears to be the first of its kind in the country and possibly within the South East Asia region. There is evidence of good practice being developed with locally recruited families where home visits are conducted to ensure an accurate assessment of needs is done prior to the placing of any children. Equally there is good practice in the preparation and support of these families in terms of training, financial, practical and emotional assistance. This demonstrates good levels of knowledge with regards to Social Work practice and a growing expertise by the national staff employed by CIF, in a concept not previously known in the country."

Additionally, the authors indicate that the program is well received by the Cambodian government. "Recently CIF were inspected (at CIF’s own cost) by Cambodian Government officials from The Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans & Young People (MOSAVY). They concluded that CIF are leading the way in Cambodia in developing family care alternatives for children living away from their family. They were extremely impressed by what they witnessed asking CIF to help in developing Kinship and Foster Care models across the country."

I have shared with many of you that I really see this as a strategic ministry and I think that this report helps to illustrate that. The fact that this ministry meets critical needs and is held up as a standard for practice, even by the government of Cambodia, while operating with an unapologetically Christian approach makes it a great means of demonstrating who Jesus is to the Cambodian people by doing the kind of thing that He calls us to do. I feel so privileged to have the opportunity to be a part of it. You can have a part in it too! If you haven't already, please consider joining my team of partners in being His hands to help bring hope and healing to Cambodia. Contact me and I'll be happy to tell you more about it. Also, if you would like to read the full report put out by SFAC let me know and I'll send you a copy.