KINNECTED: ABOUT THE PROGRAM
ACCI believes that the family is the best place for the holistic development and care of a child and we are committed to protecting each child’s right to be nurtured and raised in a loving family. To this end, we developed the Kinnected program, which seeks to take a proactive approach to scaling down the use of residential care and assisting children within the context of their families. Across 8 countries, Kinnected is currently working to:
- Develop Family-based alternative care such as kinship care and foster care options for children who require out-of-parental care
- Provide high quality short-term care as a last resort and temporary option in cases where family based care is not in the best interests of certain children.
- Assist long-term residential care programs to undergo deinstitutionalisation, which is the process of closing down long-term residential care programs and developing alternate community-based services for families and children.
- Develop reintegration and reunification programs to assist children in residential care to reintegrate back into their communities and be reunited with their families (in cases where it is appropriate).
- Develop child-centred community development programs that assist whole communities to meet the needs of their own children.
I am Ou. I grew up in an orphanage. I regret that I didn’t get to live with a family. The orphanage wasn’t bad; I had fun, went to school. But when I left I didn’t understand society, how to relate to people, how to live in community, how to show respect. If I could have spoken to my donor when my mum didn’t have enough money to keep me at home, I would have asked them to help me stay with my family and experience love and warmth.
KINNECTED PROFILE: INTERVIEW WITH OU
This is Ou’s true story and reflects the lives of many children that grow up in orphanages and other forms of residential care. The United Nations estimates that up to 8 million children around the world are living in residential care institutions.
Just like Ou, 80% of these children have families, and are in residential care for reasons of poverty. With little resource being directed to help families stay together, desperate parents often have no choice but to put their children in an orphanage in order to ensure that they receive adequate food, clothing and an education.
When our overwhelming response to vulnerable children is to open orphanages, we create a ‘pull’ factor, encouraging parents to relinquish their children. Imagine how traumatic that would be as a parent or a child. By redirecting resources to support families to stay together, rather than removing children and then placing them in orphanages, we could avoid 80% of these children from experiencing such trauma. The overuse of residential care is a huge global problem. It will take a determined and coordinated effort to shift the way we assist vulnerable children to include supporting their families and communities.
To find out more, please visit www.kinnected.org.au
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