Feed the Children, an international nonprofit who has provided hope and resources to children in Kenya and Honduras for more than 20 years, is in the process of transitioning its Residential Care Facilities in those countries to focus on family reintegration. Since the first Residential Care Facility opened in 1979, the centers have provided food, medical care, education support and shelter for extremely vulnerable children who need support.
Three Residential Care Facilities will be affected, Dagoretti Children Center and Hardy Boys Home in Kenya, and Casa del Nino in Honduras, with approximately 35 children and youth currently in the care of Feed the Children’s program. At this time, more than 70% of the children who were in their care previously have been reintegrated with families and caregivers or adopted through in-country adoptions.
The decision to reintegrate children into stable homes follows a global trend backed by UNICEF which found that long-term institutionalization can severely stunt a child’s development. After Feed the Children’s International Operations team started an internal review process, they then attended a summit with the Christian Alliance for Orphans. The annual summit focused on networking with other nonprofits to improve their work with orphans and vulnerable children. Through their careful research and participation in industry discussions, Feed the Children identified and implemented three strategies toward deinstitutionalizing children: reunification with family, long-term foster care and in-country adoption.
“Feed the Children is dedicated to doing what’s in the best interest of the children who are in our care,” said Scott Killough, PhD, Senior Vice President of International Operations for Feed the Children. “Their long-term well-being is our main focus and through our research we want to improve their mental, physical and emotional health. Our centers will remain open until we successfully reintegrate each child with extended family members or with a proper caregiver.”
Following the implementation of the three strategies, Feed the Children staff will establish social-work-based follow-up protocol to ensure their long-term well-being. Once all children are successfully transitioned, the centers will close. The organization plans to complete the transition process in fiscal year 2021.