A word from our President & CEO
Throughout 2020, we experienced a global pandemic. We witnessed racial tensions and social injustice in deeply painful ways. We felt the divisiveness of politics in our country and, sometimes, around our own dinner tables.
And the list goes on.
I focus my heart on Psalm 36:1-3 and praise God for being our refuge, strength, and ever-present help in times of trouble.
And yet, I’m encouraged by the unity of our Bethany family, as we work together to fulfill our God-sized mission: to demonstrate the love and compassion of Jesus by protecting children, empowering youth, and strengthening families through quality social services.
4 ways we were challenged in 2020
- COVID-19 limited Bethany caseworkers’ ability to meet face-to-face with clients, requiring a rapid switch to virtual meetings and creative efforts to engage families and kids through video.
- Fewer refugees, families seeking asylum, and unaccompanied children were able to be served because of changes to U.S. government policies.
- With court cases postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19, families faced extended times of separation. From families waiting for reunification after foster care or refugee resettlement, to families waiting for adoptions to be finalized, the delays caused by COVID-19 were felt worldwide by vulnerable children and families.
- Overcrowding in orphanages led to heightened concern about COVID-19 spreading, presenting our global staff with the challenge of quickly identifying temporary foster families to move children out of institutions and into families.
7 ways we adapted and innovated in 2020
- In Colombia, we used Zoom and WhatsApp to help women, teens, and children stay engaged in their psychosocial services and case management.
- In Ethiopia, case workers helped more than 10,000 refugees — providing guidance around mental health issues. We also diversified our work in the country, placing 129 children into foster and adoptive families — to keep them out of institutions.
- Staff helped refugees and immigrants acclimate to their new communities by showing them, via video calls, how to use appliances and access community services.
- We launched Recovering Mothers with Newborns (ReNew) in two states, serving expectant and parenting mothers who battle substance use.
- Staff experts provided national educational opportunities to support and equip parents on how to talk with their children about topics like racism, police brutality, and civil unrest.
- Thanks to a cohort of founding donors, we launched the Haiti Youth Empowerment program, providing youth ages 17-21 with the emotional, entrepreneurial, and financial skills needed to break generational poverty.
- Organization wide, we strengthened our foundation for quality services through successful COA re-accreditation.
5 ways we saw God move in 2020
- Many parents explored foster care licensing, and we saw a 55% increase in attendance at foster care informational meetings in April and May.
- Bethany’s pregnancy counselors, as essential workers, could be by mothers’ sides as they gave birth and made decisions for their babies.
- Our programs that focus on strengthening and supporting families before a crisis grew by 23.4% in 2020, helping more families stay together before interventions like foster care are necessary.
- God reinforced our foster and adoptive parents’ energy and conviction.
- Despite many financial challenges as a result of COVID-19, donors continued to provide generously.
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