We are not the permanent solution. This model of thinking and care is being implemented by a Back2Back partnering children’s home in Mexico, as they offer holistic care to vulnerable children. Like so many places around the world, the pandemic hit Mexico with a force, requiring quick changes to ensure health and safety were top priorities. Many children returned to their biological families, and those who could not were provided an alternative – family-style care – in the place they’d come to think of as home.
The partnering children’s home began instituting family-style care before the pandemic, but it quickly became the solution for a small number of children who remained behind.
“There’s been a shift here,” shared Christina Hamilton, Back2Back staff. “For the children who couldn’t return home, we started to ask the question why? Why couldn’t they return home? What did their biological families need to make reintegration possible? We wanted reunion in any scenario where it was healthy and safe.”
What was once more institutionalized – many beds in one room, cafeteria-style eating, shared clothing and toys – is now a construction zone to family-style apartments for current children and their caregivers.
“We currently have a sibling set of three children living in one apartment,” shared Christina. “It is important to keep them together, for the sake of their relationship.” The two brothers and their sister live in family-style care and their mom is receiving support and the tools she needs to be reunited with her children when the timing is right.
Family-style, holistic care also means children have access to medical visits and doctors. Recently, the youngest brother in the sibling set was diagnosed as pre-diabetic. In an effort to prevent further health issues, he was put on a special eating plan, and the entire household rallied around him.
“They were so supportive and mindful of what he could and couldn’t eat,” shared Christina. “They regularly prayed over his health and diet, and his house mom always bragged to everyone how well he was doing and how much change and self control he was exhibiting.” The young boy is now no longer in medical risk and able to better manage his diet. This is the power of family-style care – children feeling supported and seen, living each day with their own personal cheering section. Every child needs them- safe adults who show up.