Strong(er) Families, Strong(er) Homes
COVID-19, and the perspective lockdowns as a result, were an unwelcome change for most of the world. As people adjusted to working from home and holding classrooms from their kitchen tables, there were a few families in Monterrey who benefitted from the requirement of sheltering-in-place.
Many of the children who live at partnering children’s homes were already visiting with their biological families when the national emergency mandated schools close and people stay at home. This was actually a door opening for what Back2Back staff started in January – connecting with children’s’ extended families to see where reintegration could take place for the beginnings of what Back2Back calls our Strong Families Program.
Back2Back’s Strong Families Program was designed to help families move from surviving to flourishing through classes and creative workshops addressing their spiritual, physical, educational, emotional, and social needs. We provide the care they need today, so together they can participate in the hope of a flourishing tomorrow. By creating sustainability within the home, children remain where they truly belong – with their biological families.
“Some of the children weren’t able to return to the children’s homes during lockdowns, and now five months later, we see they’re actually doing quite well in their family homes, with their biological families,” shared Ale Castro, Back2Back staff. In the beginning of the sheltering-in-place, staff did evaluations and check-ins with the families to see who would be a good fit for the program.
Together, Back2Back staff determined four families, with 12 children between them, who are in the position to stay with their families. They have the guidance of staff to walk alongside them and help parents or grandparents transition into a new routine with the children in their homes full-time. Though lockdowns have lightened, school in Monterrey is still entirely virtual, so staff are ensuring families have all the resources they need to be successful, and help their children be successful, too.
“This has allowed for deeper conversations with partnering children’s homes about additional reintegration and Strong Family candidates,” explained Ale. The entire goal of the Strong Families Program is to ensure no child is in a children’s home if their biological family is able and willing to care for them themselves.
Staff and families have felt God’s hand in this work for several months now; they’ve watched Him open doors and facilitate conversations which will hopefully lead to more family integrations.
Currently, the 12 children who are with their perspective biological families are doing well, receiving the support and help they need, and are continuing to thrive in their family homes. Please join Back2Back in pray as we consider additional families who might do well in this program – that they follow God’s leading and work alongside staff to make their homes the best place for each child to flourish.
Created with Purpose
The volunteers who faithfully serve with Back2Back have not had as much face-to-face time with the children as usual, but this hasn’t stopped their drive to ensure every child feels known and loved. Volunteers have faithfully written letters and sent videos to the children during their time apart, and they’ve taken their down time to an even deeper level through trainings.
They’ve taken part in Trauma Competent Care training and the Child Protection Policy training, so when they are able to serve again, they are equipped and ready. Through their advocacy, there has also been an increased interest with new volunteers.
In addition to training and remaining connected to the children virtually, the volunteers helped children’s homes captains prepare a virtual Vacation Bible Study! Together they prepared materials to be dropped off at each of the children’s homes, and the caregivers were shown how to do the crafts and facilitate the time each day. Children followed a schedule every day for a week that included a schedule of videos which included Bible-related crafts and snacks.
Together, they learned God created them with a purpose, and He promises to always be with them. While it was not the usual Vacation Bible School, the children still learned from trusted adults about their Heavenly Father who is always near and loves them deeply.