By John Hall
In Guatemala, hope for orphans begins with Buckner.
Funded by a grant through the U.S. Agency for International Development, Buckner is laying the groundwork for foster care and kinship care – both relatively new concepts in the nation. Currently, the only option for children removed from a home due to neglect or abuse is institutional care.
The seeds of hope are being planted. Buckner leaders are meeting with churches and leaders in an effort to begin recruiting foster families. Government officials are learning about issues regarding the institutional care of orphans. A network of social workers and psychologists is being developed to help children in need.
That’s how the process toward life change begins for 103 orphans through Fostering Hope in Guatemala. That’s how many children three years and younger that Buckner is attempting to place in families through reunification with family members, foster care and domestic adoption in two years. Beyond that, Buckner is assisting in the implementation of case management services by creating a permanency team of experts to manage placements of children.
“Children may make up only about 30 percent of the world’s population, but they represent 100 percent of our future,” said Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. “Many children around the world are living on the streets or in institutions instead of with a family, and many suffer from abuse or exploitation. It is critical that U.S. investments abroad successfully provide vulnerable children with opportunities to reach their full potential for a brighter and more secure future.
“I am overjoyed that Buckner International was chosen as a recipient for a Families First Pilot Program grants from USAID. Buckner’s work has enabled thousands of children around the world to find permanent, safe and loving families. I have no doubt that they will continue to be successful in their engagement with the Guatemalan government through this USAID grant.”
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