CTWWC Guatemala

Changing the Way We Care has been working since 2019 in Guatemala, changing the culture around residential care to support children and families. We are working with the government, civil society, and other non-governmental organizations to promote family care alternatives such as foster care and kinship care, through a case management methodology that has proven to be successful.

 

Guatemala ranks 127th out of 187 countries in the world for quality of life. The life expectancy is 74 years and adults have an average of 10.8 years of schooling. The country’s 90.6% incidence of poverty is intensified and illustrated by climate change, frequent drought, migration, and other issues. Almost half (47%) of all children in Guatemala under five years of age suffer from chronic malnutrition; one of the highest rates in the world. Public investment in children and adolescents is the lowest in the region.

A 2019 report on residential care found that poverty, family violence, migration and limited access to basic services like health and education are factors that result in family separation.” The same study found 3,800 children and adolescents living in residential care across Guatemala. However, 9 out of 10 of those children have at least one living parent reflecting global trends.

CTWWC Guatemala helps children currently living in residential care facilities (sometimes called “orphanages” and referred to as “protection homes” in Guatemala). We take a comprehensive approach to care reform by strengthening families and communities in their ability to provide a safe and nurturing home for their children. In Guatemala, this involves:

  1. strengthening families and preventing children from separating from their families
  2. expanding family-based alternative care such as kinship care and temporary foster care
  3. planned reintegration of children from residential care into family-based care
  4. working closely with the four government bodies in Guatemala mandated with child protection and care, as well as with local governments, civil society, including faith-based institutions and organizations.

CTWWC Guatemala works at the national level to build on the inherent strengths of existing programs and services for children and families. We connect families with community support and existing social services and ensure children are cared for in safe and nurturing families. This includes:

  1. training government staff charged with child protection and care
  2. conducting research to inform national care reform policy and practice
  3. analyzing state budgets and conducting cost comparisons to show the fiscal benefits of investing in family-based care
  4. working closely with government and nongovernment partners to prevent unnecessary family separation and promote support services for families
  5. working with residential care institutions on their transition process to alternative care services such as kindship care and foster care
  6. creating alliances and interinstitutional coordination between government bodies and other sectors that are part of the protection system

Awareness and advocacy efforts emphasize the role that healthy, safe, and nurturing families play in the development of a child and in creating supportive communities.

CTWWC Guatemala is now looking to engage other sectors to strengthen its efforts, including educational institutions and the private sector. Also, we are participating and engaging with networks and institutions from different countries in the region, sharing knowledge and building evidence.

DEMONSTRATION AREA

CTWWC Guatemala models the strategies listed above in Zacapa, a municipality in the eastern region of Guatemala. Our work in Zacapa includes close coordination with a public residential care facility where CTWWC is working with government counterparts such as the Social Welfare Secretariat and the court to reintegrate children into families.

Through a newly established Municipal Office for Children and Adolescents (OMNA), CTWWC Guatemala works to identify families at risk of separation before it happens and refer children and families to appropriate support services.

The work in Zacapa demonstrates the success of planned and thoughtful reintegration using best practices delivered by well-trained case managers supporting stable and nurturing caregivers. Furthermore, CTWWC Guatemala and our partners demonstrate the important role that communities play in supporting children and families. The work encourages changes in attitudes and practices that value the family and promote mutual support.

As of March 2021, CTWWC Guatemala reunified 56 children from residential care in Guatemala and served 185 families at risk of separation in collaboration with the Municipal Office for Children and Adolescents of Zacapa.

*The designations employed and the presentation of the material on this map do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of CTWWC partners concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

Future

Teacher

Other Ways to Get Involved

Every child deserves a family and together we can Change the Way We Care by getting involved in any way that our time and resources allow. It doesn’t take much and there are so many small ways to make a difference!

Do you support an orphanage overseas? Did you know that by trying to do good you may unknowingly be supporting a harmful and growing industry? Contact us to learn how to you can change the way YOU care.