Bethany Christian Services Awarded USAID Grant to Protect Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Ethiopia

January 14, 2020

Today, Bethany Christian Services, an international child protection organization, announced that it was awarded a $920,000 grant from the Partnerships Plus project at the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Center on Children in Adversity to secure and expand alternative family-based care for Ethiopia’s vulnerable children.

Through partnerships with the Ethiopian government and local care providers, Bethany will secure family-based care for 300 children by reunifying them with their own families, finding temporary foster families, or placing them with adoptive families. Additionally, Bethany will work with the Ethiopian government to implement family-based care throughout the county by finalizing the national directive on alternative care for children, developing a regional plan to deinstitutionalize orphanages, and equipping local partners with the skills and tools needed to support children in families.

“We’re ready to expand our work finding families in Ethiopia for Ethiopian children in need,” said Chris Palusky, Bethany’s president and CEO. “At Bethany, we firmly believe that all children have a God-given right to grow up in the love and care of a family. This new project will not only benefit Ethiopian children now, it will protect children through families long into the future.”

The grant comes on the heels of a major revision to the Resolution on the Rights of the Child made by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Breaking with decades of prior policy, the UNGA voted unanimously to work towards eliminating orphanage care in favor of family reunification or high-quality alternative care. This change comes in response to research that shows how institutional care leaves children vulnerable to neglect, which in turn can compromise their cognitive and physical development.

“We firmly believe that the right to a family is foundational for every child,” said Kristi Gleason, vice president of global services at Bethany. “Orphanages would make sense if a bed and a meal was enough for a child. But we all know that children need more than food and shelter – they need the love, security, and consistency that only a family can provide, and Ethiopian families are already stepping forward to meet the needs of children in their communities. Together, we’re paving the way for an entire generation to thrive, not just survive.”

So far, Ethiopian families have adopted more than 200 children through Bethany and more than 500 families have become licensed foster parents.

“We praise God for this outpouring of love and support,” said Palusky. “These families are honored to make a significant impact in the life of a child.”

**Bethany will officially launch their project to secure family-based care for Ethiopia’s orphans and vulnerable children on January 15, 2020 at the Capital Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at 9:00 AM. **

“Since 2009, Bethany has been at the forefront of introducing alternative care options in Ethiopia with extensive support from local governments, faith-based networks, and childcare institutions,” said Dawit Fekadu, Bethany’s country director in Ethiopia. “Over the years, Bethany has developed a proven model of care, working through public-private partnerships, building relationships with state and non-state child care institutions, and collaborating with a network of like-minded organizations to sensitize and raise awareness in the community on the need for children to be raised in families.”

In Ethiopia, Bethany has a strong working relationship with key stakeholders such as the Federal Ministry of Women and Children and its decentralized structures in the regional states, a network of over 125 faith-based organizations active in their local communities, local childcare institutions, and other like-minded organizations. For more information about Bethany Christian Services, visit bethany.org.

About Bethany Christian Services Bethany is a global nonprofit that supports children and families with world-class social services, all designed to help families thrive. Over 75 years ago, Bethany began by serving a single child. Today, the organization works in more than 30 states and more than a dozen countries worldwide, impacting hundreds of thousands of people every year.

About the Partnerships Plus Project The Partnerships Plus project was created to support the achievement of the objectives established in the U.S. Government Strategy on Children in Adversity, Advancing Protection and Care for Children in Adversity (APCCA), whose implementation is coordinated by USAID’s Center on Children in Adversity (CECA) and the Displaced Children and Orphans Fund (DCOF).