The ABLE Program and the Staff Who Make It Happen

The ABLE Program and the Staff Who Make It Happen

We would like to introduce you to the staff who work in our ABLE program. Meet Lisa. She is a Physical Therapist, and has worked at CIF for the past four years. Her time here has seen the beginning and growth of the ABLE program. She now serves as a technical adviser to our Khmer staff.


ABLE (Accepted, Belonging, Loved, Empowerment) provides support services to our Foster Care, Kinship Care, and Emergency Care programs. Every child within our various programs can be helped by ABLE. The program provides in-home help and direct therapy services, facilitates referrals for needed equipment, accompanies children to medical appointments, provides training for family and staff, and any other relevant support that is needed.

Lisa’s Background

After receiving her degree, Lisa moved to Texas where she spent the majority of her PT career focusing on pediatrics, specifically for children with disabilities. Lisa felt called to work in this area after growing up with a sister who had a disability. She saw first hand the struggles her family experienced and wanted to help families like hers. But she had no idea of where exactly she was being called, and prayed that God would reveal that to her.

Lisa’s Journey to CIF

Rithy laughs as he and Lisa test his grip strength while playing together.

While in Texas, Lisa received her Masters of Arts from Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS). While at a conference in Dallas, she learned from a flier that Cambodia has the highest rate of physical disability in the world. That seemed like clear direction from God as to where Lisa should serve. DTS requires it’s students to complete an internship before graduation. Lisa discovered an internship in Cambodia through another organization and decided to take it. She spent seven weeks in the country during the summer of 2009. During this time, she confirmed that Cambodia was where she was supposed to be. In 2010, Lisa returned here on a vision trip where she met the co-founder of CIF, Cathleen. In March 2012, she began working at Children in Families. After over 20 years of knowing what God wanted her to do, she finally knew where to do it!

The Start of ABLE

CIF’s co-founders, Cathleen and Anee, knew they needed something like the ABLE program, but never had anyone with the proper skill set. Lisa was immediately inspired to help meet that need, and it seemed that this idea intersected so well with the things God had put in her heart. Still, there were two things missing.

The first was language – Lisa knew she would need to be able to speak Khmer to work with the  staff at CIF. She started language classes as soon as she successfully made the full-time move to Cambodia. That was time well invested, and it paid dividends when she launched ABLE in January of 2013.

The second thing Lisa knew she needed was a Cambodian perspective on running the program. This led to CIF hiring Srey Ny. Lisa and Srey Ny share the same heart for the kids and it is so important for ABLE to have people behind it that truly believe in the program.

The Future of ABLE

The key need for the ABLE in the future is to recruit and train more families who are willing and able to care for kids with disabilities. Our current pool of families is wonderful, but we really want to see that pool grow!

“I see kids benefit from [ABLE] and I am extremely grateful to be a part of it.”

To learn more about Srey Ny, see the post she wrote a little while back about her journey to CIF.

The ABLE Program and the Staff Who Make It Happen