The Whole Child Vision
Whole Child International’s mission is to elevate the quality of care for children worldwide. We specialize in relationship-centered care for children – responsive, consistent care that engenders stable attachments and trusting bonds between children and their primary caregivers. We provide training and mentoring and conduct research that supports partners to implement policies and practices that improve quality of care and outcomes for children.
Millions of vulnerable children around the world suffer from a lack of stable, nurturing relationships in low-quality care settings. This is particularly true for children in developing countries growing up in residential care and those from low-income families who spend the majority of their day in early childcare centers. These children’s developmental needs are often not met, resulting in stunting, high levels of criminality, and other adverse outcomes — reinforcing the cycles of poverty and child abandonment through generations.
Current systems tend to be over-reliant on residential care, but replacing residential care has many obstacles. In particular, residential care is generally funded by individual charities whose resources cannot simply be transferred to family-based systems. In addition, the existing social-workforce is inadequate to respond to child protection needs and supervision of family-based care.
A Knowledge Vacuum
Caregivers who work in childcare centers for vulnerable children tend to work in a knowledge vacuum caused by their marginalization in the bottom professional echelon. Thus insulated from scientific developments, and coupled with intense need in the population they serve, caregivers and their administrators adhere to outdated “factory-line” methods for providing care which emphasize efficiency and cleanliness. The results are predictably bleak.
A Need for Our Work across Care Settings
These problems are not limited to orphanages — even children in childcare who live with parents who work long hours have been seen to exhibit disorders stemming from a lack of nurturing, stable caregiving relationships. Whole Child believes that whether a child lives in a family environment or remains in an institution, they must receive care that meets their basic emotional needs, and we also know that regardless of the setting of care, the societal costs of withholding quality care while in the current situation vastly outweigh the costs of our program.
Astonishingly, these problems are relatively easy to correct through the simple methods at right. Whole Child International is one of the only organizations in the world committed to solving these problems regardless of care settings — helping children in multiple forms of limited-resource group care for as long as the children are there.
Case Study: Reinforcing Childcare Principles Through Day-to-Day Routines
In this video, a caregiver from the Managua area describes how Whole Child’s program incorporated the principles above into hands-on training and practical support within the childcare setting.