Updated: Nov 7
Children in institutionalized settings are often deprived of the connection to their roots, families of origin, and tribal identities. This lack of connection can lead to long-lasting mental health challenges and contribute to the cycle of trauma passed down through generations. The critical question emerges: "What would we want for our own children?" and the answer is rarely "institutional care."
An alarming high number of children age out of institutional care and face a multitude of challenges as they transition into adulthood. With a lack of proper preparation and support, these young adults often struggle to function in the world, and the rates of suicide among this group are significantly elevated. This points to the urgent need to reevaluate the effectiveness and ethics of supporting institutionalized care.
Many well-intentioned individuals, churches, and organizations donate funds to support orphanages abroad without fully understanding the consequences of their actions. The issue with this kind of support is that it perpetuates the existence of these institutions and may inadvertently harm the children they aim to help. Rather than merely focusing on building "beautiful facilities," the emphasis should shift to more sustainable and effective solutions that keep children within their families and communities.
As highlighted in the recent HBO documentary, Savior Complex, there's a saying among Christian communities that "God doesn't call the qualified; He qualifies the called." This saying can be incredibly detrimental, especially in the space of childcare. Volunteers and organizations should prioritize getting educated and informed about the best practices in child welfare to avoid causing harm. Good intentions do not always lead to good results. May we not allow our ignorance to cause even more harm to some of the world's most vulnerable: children in orphan care.
Host: Dr. Lauren Pinkston
Guest: Dr. Kristen Cheney
Produced by the Kindred Exchange Podcast Network
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