A Radically Honest Confession
After the 2020 Rising Tides event, Helping Children Worldwide made a commitment to pull together a comprehensive toolkit of available resources for global advocates in child care reform. We had convinced many organizations to follow our lead, and now they wanted to know how they should go about doing that and end up where we were. We shared our story proudly, with radical honesty, but our journey was so full of potholes and rabbit holes we didn’t want to send others following us down the exact same path.
We want instead to offer people transitioning orphanages to family preservation and permanency centers the kind of resources we wish had been available when we and our partners in Sierra Leone linked arms and stumbled through the work together with best intentions, great faith and a lot of trial and error. Child development research and statements of child rights were decades old when we began to reintegrate children into families. We thought we were lagging behind the curve. Perhaps the lack of supports available to us to guide that work should have been a clue that we were actually on the leading edge of the change.
There are many well-funded organizations and professional agencies involved in this work now. There are tools galore, in fact the sheer number of tools may be adding to the confusion. Our hope is to make a comprehensive roadmap for accessing the resources being developed. And to help those advocating reform and change-makers to overcome the obstacles, demonstrate success, and enlist others into the global reform movement.
Our ultimate goal for this film is to describe the reasons that shifting from institutional care to family permanency, family strengthening and family support programs is the well-founded best practice for caring for orphans, to normalize challenges encountered in the shift, and to encourage perseverance by leaders and practitioners, despite many challenges in making the shift. We want to do more than explain the rewards of perseverance, we want to motivate and persuade every person in the sector to become an advocate for change.
We started with several working titles for this story of change and transformation. We were seeking that creative spark that would give our film a central theme to build on that would characterize the message we want people to take away from the film. We need to connect the message of the film to the core of the shared human experience, to make an intellectual and a spiritual connection to the goal of permanency for children and strong families for communities.
What You Cannot Do Alone, You Can greatly Influence, if you choose.
In the spirit of our core values of Radical Faith, Radical Courage, and Radical Trust, in 2022, Helping Children Worldwide asked ourselves what more we could do to end the global family separation crisis. We have been sharing the experience of our partnership with the Child Reintegration Centre in Sierra Leone for years, and finding that alone had made a huge impact. The more we tell that story, the more people who show up to help. That is why we made a bold suggestion to our friends at First Fruit, that they underwrite a documentary on the story of transforming global orphan care to family permanency models. They agreed.