A story from CIF’s Foster Care ProgramSimmy* was only three years old when she was kidnapped, trafficked into the care of a director of an orphanage in Cambodia. Simmy was moved back and forth between the director’s home and the orphanage. She did not receive adequate food or care and was sexually abused.When the director realized that the Cambodian government was going to shut down the orphanage for failure to meet minimum care standards, Simmy disappeared. A team of investigators working with the police managed to find her. The Ministry of Social Affairs signed her into the care of Children In Families and we were able to find a family sensitive to her situation and needs.Simmy is bonding with her new family and learning about normal family and community life. She has gained weight and is in good health. Her foster parents have been taught how to deal with her sexualized behaviors resulting from her abuse and she is making good progress. With the loving support of a family, ongoing counseling and legal support Simmy’s future looks bright.* Child’s name has been changed to protect her identity.
A story from CIF’s Kinship Care ProgramCIF was supporting an aging but loving grandmother who was providing care for five children. The children enjoyed attending school and knowing that there would be a boiling pot of rice over the fire when they arrived home each day. One night the grandmother was tragically killed in a traffic accident. The funeral arrangements were made quickly and other family members traveled to the grandmother’s village. The death of a beloved family member is always difficult but for the five children there were added concerns. Where would they live? Would they still be able to attend school? Who would prepare food for them and care for them?CIF staff were able to engage with the children, the family and neighbors after hearing of the grandmother’s death. While mourning the loss of their grandmother the children were not left to fend for themselves nor were they rushed to an orphanage. The local community and other family members had rallied around them to provide them with meals and support.CIF was able to connect with the children’s aunt who had been living in a village several hours away. With CIF’s support and encouragement the aunt welcomed these five children into her care and chose to give up much of her own comfort to ensure that the children were able to remain in a community they knew and a school in which they were flourishing.
A RAPID RESPONSE
A story from CIF’s Emergency Care ProgramChildren In Families (CIF) received a call from the National Pediatric Hospital informing us that a premature baby had been abandoned. A CIF staff member went to see the baby, obtain information and arrange for a caregiver (in Cambodia hospitals do not provide nursing care and usually family members take on this role). Through her investigative work our staff member was able to identify the birth parents of the child.The parents were young university students whose families did not know that they had fallen in love or that the young woman had fallen pregnant. The couple was so afraid of their families that they decided to get an abortion. The pregnancy had already progressed quite far along so it would have been a late term abortion, which is against the law in Cambodia. However, staff from the abortion clinic directed the couple to an illegal clinic where the couple paid $400 that they had borrowed. The young woman was given IV medication and was sent home, being told that in a couple of hours she would give birth to a deceased baby. However, an hour later, the baby was born alive. The panicked young parents too scared and traumatized to know what else to do took the baby to the hospital and left him there.Our staff member began counseling the couple and helped them give the news to their families. She helped to negotiate an understanding between parents of the couple on both sides and took the grandmothers to visit the baby in the hospital. After just three days the baby’s biological grandmothers took over responsibility for his care. After release from hospital the baby went home with his biological parents for one month and then into the care of one of his grandmothers while his parents continued their studies, visiting on weekends. Recently the young couple got married! CIF continues to provide formula for this precious little boy as well as regular social work visits.
ATTENDING SCHOOL FOR THE FIRST TIME
A story from CIF’s ABLE ProgramTwo little girls in our Children In Families foster care program have epilepsy accompanied by significant language deficits. Both of these girls have been well cared for by loving foster parents who have patiently coped with communication difficulties and associated behavior issues. In 2012, the girls had the opportunity to go to school for the first time. With help from CIF they are able to attend the Rabbit School, which has a special classroom supervised by a Cambodian teacher with training in addressing special needs. The time spent at school also helps to provide the family some much-needed respite. The girls’ delayed speech and communication challenges are being addressed at school and strategies have been reinforced at home, supported by visits from the ABLE Program Manager. Through empowering the girls and their family to effectively convey their needs and wants there is significant potential to improve their quality of life and future opportunities.