Around the world, in the evenings, families sit down to similar dinner scenes. Safe adults return from work, children return from school and sports activities, and before showers and goodnight routines, a meal is shared at a table.
For the last 20 years, Back2Back has partnered with children’s homes in Monterrey, Mexico, providing holistic care for vulnerable children and helping break cyclical poverty and trauma. Over those 20 years, Back2Back has learned more about trauma competency and how to provide care and healing for children from hard places. Institutionalized care was considered best practice for many years – it provided warm beds, hot meals, and a roof for children from vulnerable places.
With time passing, best practices change, and Back2Back staff have learned smaller ratios of children to caregivers, also known as family-style care, allows for consistency and healing in the lives of vulnerable children. Children have ownership over their own clothing, and toys, and meals are shared together, with their immediate loved ones.
A year ago, staff at a partnering children’s home started discussing providing family-style care, and the new Director, Guillermo, was confident in the model. “I know what the vision is for family-style care, and I want to see it brought to life here,” he shared with the staff team. As plans were made, the world was hit with a pandemic, changing everything.
On the same property as the children’s home, there was a complete apartment sitting idle, with a plan of fixing up other apartments, as well. When mandatory lockdowns began, ten children were left behind at the children’s home, without any extended family. Two caregivers and some of these children transitioned into the apartment to live like a family.
Since this transition, former behavioral issues have been resolved, and the children are remaining calm, able to better concentrate, and there is a peaceful sense to the home. Every child knows exactly who is caring for them, and sees the adults as safe and trustworthy. They have their own clothes, and ownership over toys and personal items.
As staff see the positive changes and the strengthening of relationship and consistency, they have fully instituted family-style care into the home! Four other children, still currently with biological family, will return and live in another apartment on the grounds in family-style care, as well. Please join us in prayer as staff help transition the rest of the children in the coming months; pray for deepening bonds and ongoing growth as they better understand just what it means to be known and loved.