From the earliest days of The Hope Effect, we have had conversations surrounding the approach we will pursue for our family-style homes. We searched for words or phrases that would help clarify our intentions and set the bar high for our future. As is often the case with brainstorming sessions, the list grew long and complicated. However, one simple question seemed to sum up our conversation: If any of our children were being cared for at one of our homes, would we be pleased with the care they are receiving?
The answer to that question prompted six orphan care standards that would eventually define our values: 1) Family, 2) Excellence, 3) Spirituality, 4) Preparation, 5) Sustainability, and 6) Innovation. Over the next several weeks, we will expand on each standard in greater detail. First, we’ll explore the importance of family.
Because family is the most effective model for development, we seek to mimic the family in all strategies. Traditional orphan care solutions around the world too often function like “institutions” rather than “the family unit.” In order to maximize budgets and space, institutional care focuses on meeting basic physical needs.
To be fair, they do this very well. While not the best solution, orphanages have helped children get off the streets, out of dangerous situations, and onto a better path for the future. And our recent experiences partnering with the DIF (Mexico’s version of CPS) in San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico, have proven that orphanage directors, staff members, and supporters truly care about the children.
However, in recent years, studies have shown the lifelong negative effects on children who are reared in an institutional setting. Therefore, given the choice, I can’t imagine many parents who would want their children to only have their basic needs met in a larger institutional care situation.
If my wife and I, God forbid, could no longer care for our kids, we would of course want their basic needs met. But more than that, we would want them to be part of a family! We would want our kids to be raised by people who would love them as they would their biological children. We would want our kids to feel safe and secure. And we would hope our children would be valued for their uniqueness and individuality, while receiving help to develop their strengths and overcome challenges.
At The Hope Effect, we are seeking to change the way the world cares for orphans by offering children the opportunity to be part of a family. Rather than constructing large buildings that house a high ratio of children to caregivers, our goal is to provide smaller, single-family homes. Each home will house six to eight children and two parents. In this way, we mimic the family in all orphan care solutions. Not only is this what we would want for our children, but a family is what every child needs and deserves.
If you’d like to help change the way the world cares for orphans, we would love to partner with you! To make a difference in the lives of children around the world, click here support The Hope Effect!
Thank you for your partnership and generosity. Be on the lookout for future blog posts featuring the remaining values of The Hope Effect!
An earlier version of this post was published in August 2016.