There are tens of thousands of Child Care Institutions (CCIs) in the world. No one knows the exact number. But they’re unlicensed. Uncertified. And many are corrupt. For the countless children trapped within their walls, it’s a terribly bleak situation. Seemingly hopeless. It’s a story we see and hear time and time again. And, until we agree as a society on what is acceptable on how we care for children, this story won’t change.
Even for the CCIs that aren’t corrupt, change is needed. They have to re-evaluate how to care for kids in the most loving, productive and liberating way possible. Take Aarambh, for example. As one of Miracle Foundation India’s partner CCIs, they’re one of the good guys. Totally vetted and run by people who truly love, and want the absolute best for, their children. Even so, they recognized they had to change.
Aarambh realized that their goal shouldn’t be to run a great CCI. It should be to help every child live with a loving family.
And they discovered the best way to get children back to their families is to help the families themselves. Help them find a job or with a microfinance loan. Numerous little acts like these cumulatively add up to making a huge difference for these families and their children.
For Aarambh, in addition to focusing on raising these children, they’re now focused on prevention. On ways to keep children with their families in the first place. Of course, they’re still raising children because it’s a process and change of this magnitude doesn’t happen overnight. But, the children are involved in the process and can have an active voice in deciding where, and with whom, they want to live.
All it took was for Aarambh to start asking, “What’s in the best interest of the child?” And then acting on that. They’ve adapted and grown. Now, they’re a shining example to other institutions. A beacon that illuminates the darkness and lights the path forward these CCIs so often can’t find.
Our Founder, Caroline, once met a grandfather who was coming to drop off his children, a little boy and a little girl, at a CCI. The children looked absolutely terrified. The grandfather had dirt all over him, so she asked:
Are you a farmer?
“Yes,” he replied.
Do you have a farm?
He looked at her with deeply pained eyes and said, “Ma’am, if I had ANYTHING, I would not be here.”
His answer shook her to her core. And it changed the course of her destiny.
It’s clear these people want their children. And, ask any child. They want their family. It’s a terrible injustice to separate them. Now, we have the way forward to stop it.
So, how do we know this works? We use our Thrive Scale to make sure children get everything they need to thrive. We make sure they have a safe and nurturing environment, feel a sense of belonging and that their progress is monitored and measured.
With a focus on a loving family for every child, we can definitively say that we’re on our way to having a world that doesn’t need CCIs. This model works. It’s changing children’s lives for the better. And it’s creating a better foundation for these little miracles every single day.