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Foster Families are Transforming Child Protection in Haiti

As the clouds of chaos and violence continue to build in Haiti, there is a sliver of hope peeking through in southern Haiti in the form of Overture and IBESR’s (Haiti’s child welfare agency) foster care initiative. The gangs are wreaking so much havoc in the country that the orphanage system is breaking down and families are disintegrating. And while Overture is working to end orphanages as an institution in Haiti, we want to do so in an orderly and intentional way. As it stands, the orphanages are being shut down haphazardly, putting the children at great risk and creating a great need for solutions like foster families to provide safe, stable homes for them. This is especially true for children with special needs, who are often stigmatized and unwanted by their families and their communities. 

 

Hope for Children in Crisis


Children with a disability become victims of discrimination in their communities – some even believe that they are cursed by evil spirits.  Unfortunately, they are often excluded from attending school and are the last to be cared for and protected. Many parents abandon a child born with a disability because they see it as a burden they will have to carry forever, or those in extreme poverty abandon their responsibilities out of desperation.

 

In recent weeks, Overture and IBESR have partnered to place six displaced special needs children with foster families. These foster families didn’t exist just a couple of months ago. The Overture/IBESR partnership team identified, vetted and trained them, and they are changing the landscape of child protection in southern Haiti. Before this effort, there were very few (if any) trained foster parents in the region. Now, dozens of these dedicated families are being trained and activated throughout the communities in which Overture serves. 

 


In the coming weeks and months, the situation in Haiti is expected only to get worse (if that’s even possible), causing even more orphanages to be closed and families to be separated if they are unable to access the necessary support. This equates to more children, many with disabilities or medical needs, being displaced and exposed to considerable danger.

 

Overture is committed to showing our Haiti Love for these most vulnerable children by:

  • responding to urgent requests from IBESR for assistance in orphanage closures,

  • providing safe emergency shelter, food, and medical care for displaced children in our crisis care,

  • continuing to invest in building a strong foster care system in southern Haiti,

  • and continuing to strengthen our Overture families and communities to ensure they are able to weather the current crises and stay on the path to self-reliance.

 

We invite you to join us as we work each day to equip and empower Haitians to overcome the challenges of living in one of the world's most unstable and dangerous countries. Ultimately, they can move from surviving to thriving in their own self-reliance. There is hope. There is opportunity. There is Haiti Love! 


You can learn more about how Overture is working to end the orphanage system in Haiti and strengthen families and communities, please read our Orphanages are NOT the Answer series.

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What assistance is provided to the foster families of children with special needs especially those with special dietary needs allergens and tube feeding requirements? What about children with life long care needs? How do you plan for the future when current families are no longer able to care for the child? What about special health care needs? Haiti does not have a functioning government to say nothing of a health care system.


How do you plan to protect the children in a society that as a whole does not understand special needs individuals?

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