Not a Number in a System, but a Child in a Family

52. 28. 20. 8. 7. 1. To an unknowing eye, these are just numbers – there is no link between them, there is no meaning behind them. To the Foster Care team in Monterrey, Mexico, however, they’re game-changing figures, transforming the status quo for orphan care.  Children are being placed with safe families, and raised in family-style environments and that changes everything.

In 2013, Back2Back began a journey into offering foster care as an alternative to placing children in institutionalized care. Like the beginning of any venture, the road was rocky, but the heart behind the work was clear and remained steadfast – children thrive in family-style living, with the love and support of safe adults. In the first year, eight families participated.

Since 2013, 52 families have become certified Foster Care families. In the state of Nuevo Leon, there are a total of 60 families, and Back2Back maintains 20 of them. The Back2Back Foster Care team – composed of licensed social workers and psychologists serving the 28 children who are living in family-style care by safe, loving adults. Currently, they are evaluating four more families in this  journey of becoming full-time foster care providers. In 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services in Nuevo Leon certified Back2Back to be an Institution for Foster Care, meaning Back2Back is one of two Civil Associations certified in Mexico who can work independently, placing more children in families and not in institutions. 

Collaboration with the Mexican government is allowing Back2Back to go deeper and further. Currently, staff at Back2Back’s Mazatlan site is developing an official Foster Care Program, and Back2Back Nigeria staff are considering the same. To date, seven different organizations in Mexico are requesting Trauma Competent Care training, which is critical for individuals becoming certified foster care providers. 

What started as a small hope has grown into an initiative in which children are placed with loving, qualified foster parents. Those parents are surrounded by prayer, respite care, and encouragement, which allows 90% of foster families to serve for longer than a year, because of the support they receive. Churches from around the world are taking part in this powerful story through financial and prayer support.  This is the power of a dream planted – children are not a number in a system, but a child in a family. 

For more information about getting involved with the Foster Care Program in Monterrey, Mexico, please contact: Brian Bertke at bbertke@back2back.org.