In Holt’s nearly 60-year history, we’ve had the opportunity to impact the lives of hundreds of thousand of children and families. Historically, most of these children were adopted into loving families — and from that history came Holt’s legacy as an adoption agency. While this is totally true, many people are surprised to learn that very few of the children in Holt’s growing sponsorship program are on a track to join an adoptive family overseas. For every child who is adopted in the U.S. in order to join a loving family, Holt helps thousands more children stay or reunite with their birth families, or join an adoptive family in their country of birth — helping to achieve Holt’s mission of finding families for children.
So, who are Holt’s sponsored children?
Let’s break it down:
Holt sponsors care for more than 7,000 children each year — accounting for about ten percent of the total number of children Holt serves each year through all of our programs and services. Of these, in 2013 Holt sponsors helped 3,889 children stay in their birth families through our family strengthening programs. An additional 441 children joined loving adoptive families in their birth country, and about 360 children joined families in the United States in 2013. Holt sponsors also support children who need long-term group home care because of severe special needs.
This year, more than 5,443 children in sponsorship are in our family strengthening programs, and most of those children receive education support and funding. Through Holt’s family strengthening programs, struggling families gain the tools and resources they need to independently care for their children. Although support varies depending on the needs of each family, Holt’s ultimate goal is to help families achieve both self-reliance and lasting stability. This program helps prevent child abandonment and separation due to lack of resources, not a lack of love.
The bulk of children in our sponsorship and family strengthening programs are school-aged, because we’ve found that keeping children in school is the most effective way to keep children in their families and pull them out of poverty. Since many of the families Holt serves struggle to afford basic necessities like food and adequate clothing, school fees are often too expensive for families to pay each year — similarly, many families need the income a school-aged child could earn. For this reason, Holt focuses our efforts on partnerships with schools, using sponsorship dollars to ensure that children can pay their school fees and have educational support each step of the way. Most children in Holt’s sponsorship program are under 16 years old, though we do provide sponsorship to some college-age students in our programs — like those at Holt’s Independent Living and Educational Assistance program in the Philippines, which helps support teen and college-aged students who do not have family support.
In 2014, an additional 93 children are in our family reunification program — a program that strives help stabilize families who have separated, and return children to their birth families or relatives. Out of all the children in our sponsorship program, 831 children need adoptive families — either in their birth country or abroad.
Holt also serves children through food and nutritional support, medical care, daycare and community services, programs for children with special needs, and temporary or long-term foster care.
Regardless of the program, Holt has the same goal in mind for all the children we serve — whether through sponsorship or other services: To find and support loving, permanent families for orphaned, abandoned or vulnerable children around the world. As Bertha Holt would say, “All children are beautiful when they are loved.”
Consider sponsoring a child today. Click here to read about children who need you!