COLOMBIA

ABOUT COLOMBIA

577,000 orphans struggle to survive in Colombia. This number could be drastically reduced through family preservation and adoption programs, but tragically, due to a limited number of child welfare staff in Colombia, many children are never registered for adoption. Children within vulnerable families struggle to break the cycle of poverty as well—over half of Colombia’s children do not attend elementary school.

OUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE

AGCI is working to recruit and hire a team of local leaders who will open a regional Child Advocacy Center in Colombia. With this regional center as a hub, it’s our goal to:

PREVENT Expand family preservation programs throughout Colombia so that 27,300 children never enter institutional care.

PROVIDE Create elevated care for orphans through caregiver trainings in collaboration with the central authority and partner homes so that 119,000 children can receive quality care and education.

PLACE Secure adoption grants so that 150 older children and sibling groups have an opportunity to be adopted.

PREPARE Pilot a partner home model for aging out orphans to attend university so that 60 older children are prepared to successfully transition to independence.

POLICY Influence child welfare policy at the highest level of government and create a path to family for 154,000 orphans throughout Colombia. Additionally, we’re working to unite over 30 NGOs in order to create a regionally unified strategic Child Advocacy plan.

RECENT NEWS

We are so thrilled to be putting the wheels in motion for our Dream Homes! These homes will provide a safe space for teenagers to transition into independent adulthood while attending college or a vocational training program.

WE INTERVENE IN 5 WAYS
PREVENT
Keeping Families Together

We’re thrilled to partner with a community-based organization in Colombia that works with vulnerable families and schools to help children with behavioral issues thrive. This life changing organization works within a community in Colombia in which 98% of families are in the lowest socio-economic class. Education Sponsorship gives children the tools they need to excel in school through speech therapy, occupational therapy, and counseling.

Due to economic hardships within many of these children’s families, therapy is often inconsistent because families are unable to pay for these necessary services. Through our partnership, over the next 6 months, we’ll begin matching 100 children within this program with sponsors to ensure they receive the therapy they need to thrive.

PROVIDE
Family-Like Care

Our goal is to elevate childcare in Colombia’s institutions by implementing a holistic caretaker training program that will create new care regulations in the country.  By implementing this training at the national level, we believe we can dramatically improve the care for hundreds of thousands of children. Through the program, caregivers will receive the knowledge and skills they need to provide specialized, family-like care for children across Colombia.

AGCI is now working with representatives in Colombia to ensure that key child welfare leaders are trained in the curriculum before spreading the program to hundreds of orphanage staff at the grass roots level. We know this training will change lives and allow children to experience a marked improvement in their physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development; the tools they need to reach their full potential.

PLACE
Finding Families for Orphans

The care at the homes we partner with is exceptional and the staff provides us with detailed reports on all waiting children so we’re best able to advocate for them. We’ve been elevating care and finding families for children in Colombia since 2014. In that time, 20% of adoptions were completed in just 6 months and families received over $28,180 in adoption grants.

Children of all ages are waiting in Colombia for their forever families—in 2016, 50% of the children adopted through AGCI’s Colombia program were under 1 years old at the time of placement.

PREPARE
Supporting Orphans Aging Out

We’re working to prepare orphans who are aging out of institutions with the tools they need to follow their dreams. Together with our partner in Colombia, we’re creating Dream Homes for kids aging out of institutional care. Dream Homes provide a safe space for teenagers to transition into independent adulthood.

Through dorm style housing, kids who previously would have been on the streets will now have an opportunity to study, live, and learn how to be an adult while pursuing a college degree or vocational training program. House “parents” will provide guidance, support, and love during this critical time of growth and self-discovery.

POLICY
Changing the System

AGCI is working to change the landscape of adoption and orphan advocacy in Colombia by hiring a social worker to advocate for over 5,000 children who are waiting for forever families. By traveling throughout Colombia, she ensures information, photos and paperwork for adoptable children are up-to-date, completed and sent to the Central Authority so that adoption agencies around the world can find more families for waiting children.

Thanks to the implementation of AGCI’s social worker, 118 children’s files have been reviewed and summarized, 60 children’s videos have been completed, and 18 medical files have been translated.

STORIES

Could Tessa Be Your Daughter?

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 5-year-old Tessa is a sweet, loving little girl! Kind and friendly Tessa loves artistic activities such as painting, dancing, and listening to music. She is an energetic, fun, happy child and we know God has amazing things planned for her. When Tessa was very young, . . .

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Could You Be Their Family?

“You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.”   Psalm 10:17 Siblings Melissa (12), Posey (10), and Mattias (7) are kind, loving kids who desperately want to be adopted together into a forever family! These sweet siblings entered into protection in Colombia about a year ago and currently . . .

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Gracie Is Waiting For Her Forever Family!

UPDATE: We are so excited to share that Gracie has found her forever family! To learn about other children still waiting for their forever family, visit our international adoption photolistings. We fell in love with sweet 3-year-old Gracie the moment we met her in Colombia! Gracie is a loving, affectionate toddler and is very bonded . . .

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Why Our Sponsorship Program Is Different

AGCI’s Education Sponsorship program is truly life changing for the vulnerable children we serve. But what really makes our Colombia Education Sponsorship program so different? Essential Therapies All of the children enrolled in our Colombia Education Sponsorship program struggle with learning disabilities or behavioral issues that can make it difficult for them to excel in . . .

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The Kids Left Behind: How To Help Aging Out Orphans

There are currently 110,000 children living under government protection in Colombia. While some of these children are eventually adopted or reunited with their biological families, an overwhelming percentage will spend their childhood inside an institution and then age out of the system with zero support or guidance. How do we intervene for these kids, now . . .

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Hope For Kids and Families

AGCI’s Education Sponsorship program is truly life changing for the vulnerable children we serve. This month, we’re focusing on what makes our Colombia Education Sponsorship program so different and the amazing children and families that benefit from this program! Essential Therapies All of the children enrolled in our Colombia Education Sponsorship program struggle with learning . . .

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Prepare
Having aged out of the system, Anderson had nowhere to turn, and no education or family support to help him create a life for himself. Filled with despair and hopelessness, on his 16th birthday, Anderson attempted to take his own life. We are so thankful that this amazing young man lived. Thanks to a program run by our partner in Colombia, Anderson now has a job, an education, and best of all, purpose—he now serves as a mentor for other older orphans in his community. While the road ahead is still uncertain, Anderson now recognizes his own self-worth and has a deep desire to help others realize that they have value, too.