A Family Environment For Every Child

  • Haiti
  • Goal 3: Good Health And Well-Being
  • Goal 2: Zero hunger
  • Goal 4: Quality Education
  • Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities
  • Goal 16: Peace, Justice ans Strong Institutions
  • Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals

Tax deduction possible in the following countries : Switzerland

Partners : IBESR- Institut du Bien-Etre Social et de Recherches Embassy of France in Haiti

In brief

Aims to improve the daily care of children living in orphanages and promotes family reintegration through adapted family training and targeted follow-up sessions.

The challenges

The Government of Haiti estimates approximately 80 percent of all children living in orphanages have at least one living parent, and almost all have other living family members. Despite this, poverty, lack of access to basic services, and the desire to provide an education drive parents and caregivers to place their children into orphanages.

Over 25,000 children live in 750 privately operated and financed orphanages in Haiti. At least 140 of these orphanages are believed to have extremely detrimental living conditions, wherein children are at severe risk of violence, exploitation, abuse, neglect, and premature death.

While Haitian child protection authorities have begun closing such orphanages, there is an urgent need to ensure the conditions improve in the orphanages whose closure is not planned. As expressed by the Haitian authorities, supporting better standards of care is a real and urgent need for children living in orphanages.

Action and Impact

According to United Nations Guidelines on Alternative Care for Children, placement into residential care must be a last resort, only to be taken when absolutely necessary. We are convinced that many children who have been separated from their families could be returned or alternatively placed in community-based care. The immediate needs of children living in orphanages must be improved and this can be achieved by focusing on providing training and follow-up support for caregivers. Both professional caregivers and family members must commit to upholding the rights of the child, so that children can grow up in a supportive family environment, an atmosphere of happiness, and with love and understanding.

With the collaboration of local authorities, a hundred orphanages in Haiti will benefit from comprehensive training in psychosocial care. These key training courses cover topics such as meeting the specific needs of the child, understanding his/her daily care requirements and preparing the child for integration into family life.

The role of a social worker is necessary throughout the family reintegration process. In each case, social workers comprehensively evaluate and document their findings as to whether it is safe and in the child’s best interest to return home. This process takes into consideration the existing links within the child’s family and readiness of both the child and their family for this transition.

Time is running out for each of these vulnerable children currently in orphanages. Those children who are well-cared for are more likely to be reunited with their families or to be adopted. Therefore it is critical that their daily care improves to support both their growth and capacity to reach their full potential. Children only get one opportunity to grow up, and every day is important in assuring they have a healthy and better future.

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