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How many orphanages are in Haiti?The exact number is unknown becuase orphanages are one of the main ways of human trafficking in Haiti. According to Lumos, an estimated 30,000 children live in approximately 750 mostly privately-run and financed orphanages in Haiti. The Government of Haiti estimates that 80 percent of children in orphanages have at least one living parent, and almost all have other family members. Poverty, lack of access to basic services, and the desire to provide an education drive parents and caregivers to place their children in orphanages. With adequate support, many children could return to family- and community-based care, and at-risk families could be strengthened to prevent separation in the first instance. More than 80 years of research demonstrates the physical, social, and psychological harm caused by raising children in orphanages and that family-based solutions reduce risk of abuse and result in better outcomes for children. For the detailed report and case studies of orphanages in Haiti, please go to: https://lumos.contentfiles.net/media/assets/file/Funding_Haiti_Orphanages_Executive_Summary_Digital_Version.pdf
If the parents love their children, why abandon them to orphanages?"In Haiti specifically, there are child seekers that are paid by many of the orphanages to "find" children in poor families and bring them to the orphanage with the promise of education or even international adoption. Many parents think that they cannot be the best answer for their child because of poverty. "There is now an ‘orphanage-crisis’ not an ‘orphan-crisis’ in Haiti.The international definition of an‘orphan’, used in development indicators globally, is a child who has lost one or both parents. Misunderstanding this nuance hasled to the widespread belief that there are hundreds of thousands of children in Haiti without any parents or family who could care for them." - LUMOS
Is the orphanage I support a "good" one? "Here are the questions to ask as orphanage leaders know how to play the game and make foreigners trust them. 1. Is your orphanage registered with the local government of whatever country they are serving in? You will find that many are not and have no interest to have a social worker on staff or work with the government. Many have created fake papers to fool foreigners in to thinking they are registered and working with the government. 2. Where have the majority of children come from? For example: Are they from a family with parents? Are they from abuse? Are they from a family who "cannot take care of them?" These are often the stories told and the immediate thought solution is the orphanage. 3. What resources and education classes were offered to the family before the child was removed from their family unit? 4. Is there a psychologist or therapist on staff with the orphanage? 5. What efforts have been made to re-unify the child in to their family unit? 6. If both parents have died, are there other living relatives such as an aunt/uncle, siblings or grandparents still alive? Can the child be re-unified with any other living relative? 7. Are there adequate caregivers per child or are there 1-2 caregivers for 40-50 or 80-100 children? *Note: this is a good sign that they may not be legally registered if there are no adult caretakers 8. Does the orphanage allow voluntourism? Are groups allowed to come in and have full access without supervision to the children? Are entire trips planned around the children only? Are there boundaries, child protection acts signed and background checks required before a group comes to a mission organization that has children in their care? Are photos allowed at free access or are there rules to protect children from constant exposure to teams coming in every month> Note: Teams are a great source of income for institutions as they fall in love with a child and then sponsor. This is often the reason WHY children are not reunified with a capable family member because they want this child to be able to see their "sponsor" once a year and continue generating funds. These funds could be used for school sponsorship and education in the family unit, not just for that one child but for all the children in a family. This is helping PREVENT poverty orphans. 9. Is there accountability for where money is spent after given to the orphanage? 10. If you quit giving money to an orphanage, would there still be the great relationship with the leader of the orphanage? Or does that relationship quit as soon as the funds stop pouring in. 11. If the institution cannot re-unify children, what is being done to at least change the MODEL from institution in to family based care? Many say that foster homes are abusive or turn children in to child slaves. This very well can be true, but with the right oversight and partnerships with the local government it can be something so much more. If an orphanage does not want to go this route, are they willing to change a model in to family group homes with a child can have attachments to a mother/father figure and resemble a family? Proven damage is shown for children who have grown up in institutions all over the world. 12. What after care plan is there for a child who ages out? It is shown that suicide and crime rates are much higher with a child who is raised in the system and does not have strong parental or familial attachments. Does the orphanage cycle through children as they age out and get new/younger ones? Or are they committed to DOING IT WELL and putting a child through university or trade school or jobs? Is the child simply left to fend for themselves? Orphanages need to stop taking care of the immediate need of 18 year care and start setting up children for success. Funds should never be more important than what we can do better for a child's entire life. 13. Is the orphanage in poor conditions, interested in adoption? HUGE HUGE RED FLAG!!!!!! Our "orphanages" we worked in for years were always interested in adopting out children which is illegal to pick a child and adopt from the States. This is an easy way of getting children from families and trafficking them out while charging a lot of money to do it and continuously getting new children in. Don't be fooled... 14. Is the orphanage living in poor conditions? Are they using the excuse they do not have funds for mattresses, 3 meals a day and clean hygiene? Often children are left in poverty so that donations will continue to roll in. Resources are sold the minute a team walks out the door and that is what the child SEES our foreign churches and aid doing. Lumos stated in 2017, over 100 million dollars poured in to the orphanage business in Haiti alone. WE MUST DO BETTER AND ASK THE HARD QUESTIONS.
What is One Gift, One Child doing different in regards to the "orphan crisis?" "PREVENT We prevent poverty orphans by coming alongside our community and teach families about their children. We have a children's ministry that hosts 300-600 children every Saturday. Through this program, we have watched children completely change and have something to live for that is specifically for children. We reach their parents through children's ministry programs. We also provide school sponsorships to help 80-100 kids from our community remain in school and off the streets. RESCUE We rescue children who have been abandoned and left to die, with no chance of finding their family. We rescue children who have been in abusive, corrupt orphanages and need a chance to heal in a family unit before being re-unified in to their biological family or a Haitian foster family. REDEEM We strive to provide counseling, therapy, discipleship and the love of Jesus to see children heal from their trauma before returning home to a family unit. RE-INTEGRATE We strive to find children's biological families and work through education classes and therapy so their children can return back home. We also work to raise up Haitian foster families that are willing to raise the true orphans in a family environment.
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