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10/11/12 at 12:59 PM

Joint Council on International Children Services

As I’ve discussed in this blog before, the solution to the world’s growing orphan crisis lies in our ability to support and strengthen families—whether they are biological, foster, or adoptive. The foundation for making a lasting difference in the lives of orphans around the world is creating safe and loving homes where children receive the nurturing they need from a family.

While the number of orphans is daunting—153 million according to UNICEF—fortunately, there are a number of organizations in the United States and globally that are committed to the well-being of vulnerable children through the development of sustainable family care. At Bethany, we know it will take all of us to meet these needs, and we seek out quality partners to help ensure children have families. One such organization that I’m hoping to draw your attention to in this post is the Joint Council on International Children Services; an organization committed to assisting orphaned and vulnerable children by “advocating on their behalf, marshaling the resources they need, educating those who serve them and mobilizing those who care” in an effort to help secure a permanent and safe family environment.

Children don’t just need families . . . they need strong families. They need families who can provide the essentials they require to become successful members of the community so that the community continues to develop and thrive. Kids need role models and there are no better role models for them than a loving mother and father. That is why successfully tackling the global orphan crisis should be among the highest priorities.

To that end, the Joint Council and its partner organizations provided services to 2.1 million children and families in 2010. While that’s but a tiny fraction of the total number of orphans, the Joint Council’s noble efforts are helping build the momentum necessary for achieving long-term changes that will result in children staying with their biological families whenever possible or being placed with families who have room in their hearts and homes. As a result of the organization’s tremendous reach (the Joint Council works in 52 countries) such efforts are laying the critical groundwork for the major change we all hope for.

One of the many reasons children are orphaned is the extreme poverty in which their biological parents live—according to the Joint Council, every day, approximately 14,000 children die of poor nutrition. If parents are unable to provide necessities such as food and medicine for themselves, they often view leaving their children in the care of a local organization, such as a church or orphanage, as an opportunity to improve the child’s chances of receiving the supplies they need to grow to adulthood. While this may indeed work in the short-term, the lasting ramifications of growing up in an environment devoid of parental love and affection can be extremely detrimental to the development of the child.

Organizations such as the Joint Council and Bethany Christian Services realize that not everyone is meant to be, or capable of becoming, adoptive or foster parents. To be frank, I would prefer that no child would ever suffer the loss of their parents. In a perfect world, there might not be any need for adoptive parents or foster homes, but in this world the need is great.

For those who cannot open their homes to children in crisis, there are still plenty of opportunities to make an impact in the lives of those who so desperately need it. By volunteering your time and resources to one of the many nonprofit organizations serving children, you can aid families in getting the crucial services they desperately need. More importantly, you will play a vital role in the larger objective, which is making sure every child grows up in a family.

To learn more about the wonderful programs and initiatives implemented by the Joint Council of International Services, visit

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