Whole Child works intensively in existing childcare facilities, providing training and support to improve the care that children receive. Our intervention focuses on creating strong relationships between children and their caregivers — a focus shown by our and other research to be both an effective and cost-effective way to significantly improve outcomes for children living in residential care centers (orphanages) and cared for in state-run childcare centers.
In every center, we provide practical reforms to staffing patterns and other administrative practices and implement minor changes to facilities. Our work emphasizes five principles of quality caregiving to support the core priority of ensuring high-quality, stable, nurturing caregiving relationships for every child, as described in our “Vision” page.
Many of the most damaging aspects of care emerge from unfortunate and ill-informed management practices, such as the rotation of children from group to group, moving caregivers from group to group, and caregiver schedules that staff prefer but do not allow for proper bonding between child and caregiver. Making these shifts in management priorities can have a profound effect in the lives of all children in care, and some of these changes don’t cost a dime to implement.
We provide training and direct assistance in the application of optimal childcare practices to typically undereducated and ill-prepared center caregivers and support personnel. Our caregiver training takes place once a month for nine months and is complemented by many additional days of hands-on assistance for all caregivers who are directly responsible for the care of children.
For details, please see our “Building Knowledge” page.
^^ Groups of caregivers graduate from Whole Child’s training program in the Nicaragua program. Graduation events are often highly emotional, as the caregivers are often receiving their first formal recognition for their work with children, and many of them are receiving their first diplomas. For more please see our Note from the Field here.