Initiative seeks to increase the options for children and teenagers in need.
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Chile launched a program to get families interested in becoming foster parents. The “Que ser niños les sea familiar” (“Let Children Be Familiar With Being Children”) initiative was launched in the northern city of La Serena in October 2019. According to organization leaders, the drive sought to find ways of protecting children and teenagers whose rights have been violated.
“I am very happy, because this is a dream come true,” said Verónica Zárate, director of Chile’s Sename (National Service for Minors) Coquimbo Regional Directorate during the launch of the program. “I am very thankful to ADRA for accepting this great commitment with the children in our region. We want children to be familiar with being children — it is the reason we are here today.”
Zárate said that her office desires to increase the number of host families, something that is not easy to achieve.
“It is a great challenge for our region, and we know that this campaign that starts today is a milestone and will continue,” Zárate said. “We are certain that we will achieve great results.”
A calm and respectful environment is one of the characteristics of a healthy family base. Still, it is a reality that thousands of children do not yet know, ADRA leaders explained. It is the reason why ADRA, as the humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, is implementing this initiative focused on foster homes. The initiative is expected to provide more children with protection, care, and affection through families who volunteer to open their homes to host them provisionally, restoring the minors’ right to live with dignity.
At the same time, every foster family will receive the support, monitoring, and training of ADRA’s specialized professionals.
Supporting the Initiative
La Serena councillor Camilo Araya said that in the midst of a very materialistic society, it is essential to have an option such as this one. He pledged the city’s support for the initiative. “Our commitment will always be to our boys and girls, to the family,” Araya said.
Along the same lines, ADRA Coquimbo regional director Daniel Iturra said that it is important to be aware of the nation’s responsibilities to children and teenagers. “We are all co-guarantors of rights,” he said.
According to ADRA leaders, ADRA Chile has been supporting Sename’s work for 25 years, serving children and teenagers and responding to their needs. ADRA Chile director Rodrigo Cárcamo said they are part of a team.
“As ADRA, we are a collaborating institution, and as collaborators, we understand that we have to make a team,” Cárcamo said. “As a team, we know we are in a drive to increase the number of host families.”
During the launch of the initiative, volunteers handed out informational flyers about the program to residents walking in the city’s main square. ADRA leaders reported that 30 families showed interest in becoming foster families and have already enlisted. They will go through the relevant initial assessments by ADRA professionals.
At the end of the day, all the authorities attending were invited to the stage to symbolize their commitment to the initiative. A call was made for more residents to join the project, leaders said.
The original version of this story was posted on the Spanish-language South American Division news site.