Orphan Lifeline
Church Based Homes | Scope of Care | An Analogy | Comparison Points | Comparison Summary
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Comparison Points
 
The United Nation’s thorough publication on orphaned and abandoned children, Children on the Brink (UNICEF, 2004), outlines the major problems with the prevailing model of orphan rescue and care, institutional orphanages…

“Traditional residential institutions usually have too few caregivers and are therefore limited in their capacity to provide children with affection, attention, personal identity, and social connections that families and communities can offer.”

 
CONNECTIONS - COMMUNITY - IDENTITY - ATTENTION
maller-scale settings: Multiple caregiver families live with children placed in smaller groupings. Our homes are typically comprised of 8 to 12 children, not the 100 to 1,000 child capacities seen in most institutional models. For instance, a Orphan Lifeline church partner caring for 100 orphans would provide 10 homes with 10 children each with a live-in family.

Higher caregiver ratios: Unlike traditional orphanages, where it is not uncommon to see one caregiver for every seventy-five children, our homes are comprised of “family communities” with healthy caregiver ratios.

Church community:  Our homes are an integrated part of the broader church community that cares for the children. The children therefore receive additional love, care and encouragement from a compassionate group of church members and volunteers.

“Institutional care tends to segregate children and adolescents by age and sex and from other young people and adults in their communities. Instead of encouraging independence and creative thinking, institutional life tends to promote dependency and discourage autonomy. For many adolescents, the transition from life in an institution to positive integration and self-support as a young adult in the community is difficult. They lack essential social and cultural skills and a network of connections in the community.”

TRANSITION - INTEGRATION - CONNECTION
 
Educational integration and connection: In most cases, our children are educated with the children of the surrounding community…their community.

Church integration and connection: Our children are part of the churches that oversee the homes on their properties. They interact and play daily with the children of church members as well as the youth and adults that attend the church. They attend and participate in church services and activities throughout the week.

Transition integration and connection: Our children receive skills and transitional training. Unlike institutional orphanages, they are afforded many more opportunities for transition as church members step in to recommend and offer them employment when they are ready to leave the home.

“Institutionalized orphans who suffer the loss of family identity and sense of community belonging are at greater risk of losing future support networks than orphans in foster homes or other community settings.” Many traditional orphanages are located away from the children’s community of origin, within large buildings constructed on free land donated by the government. They are isolated and alone, sequestered from the rest of society. “It takes a village….” Many developing world social structures have always believed that children don’t just belong to parents but to the community. To remove from the community is to remove them from their identity.

COMMUNITY BELONGING
 
Community connection: The local church is the community! Our children are placed in church-based homes right in their community. They are not moved away. They stay connected to their peers and neighbors through schooling, church and community activities. They remain and belong.  

“For children who slip through the extended family safety net, arrangements preferable to traditional institutional care include foster placements, local adoption, surrogate family groups integrated into communities, and smaller-scale group residential care in homelike settings.”
 
FOSTER CARE - ADOPTION
 
Homes: Our children are placed into church-based homes, not orphanages.

Foster Care: Our children are effectively “fostered” by live-in families, supplemented by widows as additional caregivers.

Adoption: Unlike children in institutional orphanages that have little connection to the community, our children are constantly in contact with church families. Families that have never considered adoption and who would have never thought to drive out to see the children in the institutional orphanages, now are constantly immersed in church activities with the orphaned and abandoned children in the church home. These same families can now picture individual children becoming part of their families. In short, Orphan Lifeline’ church-based homes actually enhance the exposure, opportunity and probability of child adoptions.
 
 
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