Little Paloma* was born into a very difficult situation. The baby’s mother, overwhelmed by her own life challenges, disappeared after the birth of Paloma, leaving the baby girl in need of parental care.
Three years prior to Paloma’s birth, a family in Paraguay heard a message from WWO representatives who were visiting Paraguay and sharing about the importance of adoption and foster care. It seemed God had been planting seeds to prepare this family for an event that would take place three years later.
When this family learned of Paloma’s need for a family, they responded by becoming a foster family for the baby girl. Today they are being supported by a member organization of the Paraguay Protects Families (PPF) movement and are able to provide Paloma with safe and loving care.
In light of a new change in the law, the length of legal proceedings surrounding children in care in Paraguay have been shortened, which means Paloma’s case can be resolved quickly.
Everyone truly worked together to make sure Paloma has the best possible outcome in life. However, not every child in Paraguay receives this response.
Children in Paraguay enter the legal child protection system very quickly due to violence, neglect in the home or due to abandonment. At present social services in Paraguay are lacking the ability to closely support these children or to adequately work with their families to determine if returning a child home can be a safe option.
Currently, private charities (most faith-based) run the majority of residential care facilities and struggle to provide the basics for children and few have proper training or support. While the law gives preference to family-based care, almost no funding exists for these programs, which is why most children end up in children’s homes. With the high demand of new cases in the Court system, children in institutions are practically forgotten by the authorities.
This has been the case for more than 15 years in Paraguay, and little will change unless practical changes take place and the government takes more responsibility for managing cases. Paraguay Protects Families recognizes this is an area of great need and today is going the extra mile to help the government tackle the complexities of these issues. The PPF team has witnessed key authorities take momentous steps, and by working together alongside hose at the grass roots level, they are beginning to see the situation for children change in Paraguay.
Since its inception in 2016 as part of the WWO global movement, PPF came together as a network of faith-based children’s homes, organizations, churches and individuals to promote a movement of change in Paraguay through local churches, working with others so that every child can grow in a safe and loving family, grounded on the Father Heart of God and His mandate to the Church.
As a result of the recent review on Paraguay's child protection system, carried out by the government with the help of PPF, evidence was provided on the current situation and a cross-government implementation plan was designed. The urgency of over 1,000 pending cases involving child placement was seen in an overwhelming manner, as the average time children wait in care is almost 5 years. In addition, thousands more are in other unsupervised forms of care, indefinitely.
The review’s action plan includes significant short-term goals to develop a streamlined process for new cases, as well as long term planning to properly tackle deeper issues. While the proposed plan is now in the hands of the authorities as they make important decisions and recruit required resources to achieve better outcomes for children, PPF continues to focus on activating and equipping the Church in Paraguay to be a network of carers for the most vulnerable.
*name has been changed.
Please join us in praying for Paraguay Protects Families and for the nation of Paraguay -
- More people like the family mentioned above to take a risk and love unconditionally
- Resources for local organizations to prepare and support much-needed foster families, as well as for those who provide residential care
- More churches to come alongside individuals and families who go out of their way to provide care for children removed from their homes
- Resources for Paraguay’s Government, to actually implement the action plan that was designed based on the evidence of the cross-government review, especially considering the current crisis caused by COVID-19
- Wisdom and strength for the authorities who are working on changing the situation of children in Paraguay
- Unity among everyone in Paraguay, who all want the best for children like Paloma, and that every child would receive this same response.