Caring for orphaned and vulnerable children in China since 1992 through child sponsorship and donations
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Every year, sponsors and donors provide life-changing support for over 47,000 children and families in China.
Over the past two decades, rapid development in China’s urban centers has lifted millions of people out of poverty. But in rural communities, children and families continue to live on less than $1.90 per day. Out of desperation, young people living in rural villages often migrate to cities in search of work — leaving children behind in the care of elderly relatives. Working alongside the Chinese government, and with the support of sponsors and donors, Holt strives to ensure that every child can thrive in their family and every child growing up without a family can join a permanent family through adoption — either to a family in China, or if that’s not possible, to a family in the U.S.
60 million children are growing up without their parents
Holt donors provide education and social work support so children can thrive in the care of their grandparents or relatives.
Children with special medical needs require specialized care
Holt’s donor-funded medical foster home provides nurturing, medically trained care for children before and after surgery.
Adoption from China: Children wait for loving families
With expert staff in China and the U.S., Holt helps orphaned and vulnerable children join loving, permanent families.
Help Children & Families in China
In China, many children are hungry, living in poverty and don’t have the resources to go to school. And children living in orphanages with special needs don’t have the specialized medical care they need. Your gift will help a child or family in China in greatest need.
Helping Children and Families Thrive in China
In China, Holt’s family strengthening programs focus on education to lift children and families out of poverty. Child sponsors and donors provide the critical support needed to help children attend school for as long as possible — creating generational change for thousands of families.
Education in China is free and compulsory until the ninth grade, but families still face a lot of costs to educate their children. These include books, uniforms, supplies and “supplementary” classroom costs. Many families also live in rural or mountainous areas without access to a nearby school. For these families, their only option is to pay room and board for their child to attend a boarding school far from home. Collectively, these fees can overwhelm families living in poverty and cause children to drop out of school early. But across China, Holt sponsors and donors help cover school fees for children living in poverty with their families.
Within each province where Holt works in China, our local staff also partners with teachers, schools and local ministry of education officials to ensure children receive additional support and advocacy in and out of the classroom. Through home visits and regular meetings, advocates inform families about the importance of education, find ways for children to remain in school longer, help with exam prep, provide links to tutoring resources and more. With the support of sponsors and donors, advocates also work to ensure safe living conditions, medical care and good nutrition for children in educational sponsorship.
Nutrition & Health
Many children in Holt’s programs in China have experienced hunger or malnutrition. Some families live exclusively on rice and vegetables from their gardens, with very limited protein in their diet. Often, children living in poverty miss meals and don’t get the vital nutrition they need. Holt sponsors and donors help provide food staples for families — ensuring children are well nourished and growing at a healthy rate.
Medical care is also costly to families living in poverty in China. As a result, many families will avoid seeing a doctor — taking risks that could potentially become deadly for themselves or their children. Holt sponsors and donors help alleviate the risk of serious illness by covering medical fees for children. Every child in Holt’s China programs also has access to emergency medical care.
Caring for China’s “Left Behind” Children
In China, over 6.4 million children are growing up without their parents — left behind in rural villages in the care of elderly grandparents or relatives who struggle to provide for them on their own meager resources. In some cases, parents leave their children when they divorce or when they remarry. But most parents leave because of poverty, migrating to cities in search of work. Although some parents try to bring their children, often the costs to live in the city are too great.
Most children don’t grow up completely alone. But even if they stay behind with grandparents, for many children, being left behind also often means being left in charge. Not only do they not receive the care they need, they end up being caregivers for their younger siblings and elderly grandparents. They cook, they clean, they watch after their siblings. They do everything that a parent would do.
In 2018, Holt began a program in China’s Jilin province to help address this crisis of “left behind children.” To help these children, our team in China began training and building up a local network of support for them — of teachers and villagers, of “aunts and uncles,” who would look out for them. With backing from the government, our social work team taught child welfare workers how to identify children in need, how to conduct a home visit and how to determine what kind of support children needed. They learned to look at whether the children’s grandparents knew how to appropriately care for them, whether the children had relatives who could step in and help, and whether the family had sufficient income to care for the children. They also looked at whether the children were enrolled in school and who around the children could provide additional support when they needed it.
By training local child welfare workers to build a network of support for these children, Holt social workers have helped many more children than they could help individually. Sponsors and donors support this effort by providing the vital resources for these kinds of social worker services. For children in greatest need, they also help directly provide nutrition, medical care and education.
Today, Holt continues to collaborate with provincial level authorities to oversee this important and growing program. In the coming years, we plan to expand to six counties in four provinces with services offered until a child is over 16 or no longer needs assistance.
In China, sponsors and donors support a special after-school program for children living in poverty with their families. These children typically cannot afford to participate in extracurricular activities like their more affluent peers and instead just go directly home after school. With donor support, children can now participate in activities such as dance, knitting, art and music, which helps strengthen their social and developmental skills. Children living in orphanages with special needs can also participate in these programs — teaching them new skills and enriching their lives with opportunities they would not otherwise receive.
Orphan & Vulnerable Children Care
Caring for China’s Most Vulnerable Children
In China, many orphaned and vulnerable children have medical or developmental special needs. Holt sponsors and donors help provide everything these vulnerable children need to reach their potential — from medical care and therapy to help joining a permanent family via adoption.
Foster Care & Group Homes
In 1998, Holt introduced the first foster care programs in China. Today, we continue to be the leaders in promoting and growing foster care as a more nurturing alternative to institutional care. Replicating the model of foster care Holt first developed in Korea in the 1960s, Holt’s foster care program in China trains foster families to provide the attentive, one-on-one care children need to grow and thrive. In Holt foster families, children are more likely to reach healthy developmental milestones. The bonds children develop with their foster parents also help them form healthy emotional attachments with their adoptive families. Today, Holt foster care in China primarily serves children with special needs. Holt sponsors and donors help meet each child’s basic needs, including nourishing food and special nursing care. Holt also arranges different kinds of outings and activities to help the children discover more about the outside world and learn how to express care and love for others. The children in foster care live with a foster family until they are able to join an adoptive family, or until they age out of care.
In China, Holt sponsors and donors also support group homes that provide a more familial atmosphere for children growing up without families. Some group homes provide specialized care for children with special needs, including for children with HIV — a disease so stigmatized and misunderstood in China that children with the condition are unwelcome in schools and even orphanages. Group homes give children who are HIV+ a sense of family, a safe and supportive environment and the opportunity to attend school.
Every month, the group plans movie nights, bicycle rides, barbecues and other types of social activities since people with HIV are often excluded from mainstream society.
Nutrition & Health
Children living in orphanages are far more vulnerable to malnutrition and hunger-related diseases — especially children with medical and developmental needs. That’s why Holt developed our child nutrition program (CNP) for orphaned and vulnerable children around the world. In China, we work to equip caregivers in our partnering orphanages with the tools and training they need to strengthen their nutrition and feeding practices. Caregivers learn how to track the growth of children in care to ensure their growth and development is on track. They learn how to safely and comfortably feed children with special needs, and they make basic dietary changes that have a significant impact on the children’s health and well-being. Since the CNP team trained caregivers in China, our partnering orphanages have fully implemented the program — creating institutional changes that will benefit generations of children to come.
Adoption in Birth Country
At Holt, we believe that every child should grow up in a loving, permanent family. We also believe that children should have the opportunity to grow up in the country and culture of their birth. That’s why, everywhere we work, we advocate for children to join adoptive families in their birth country before considering international adoption for them. Formal domestic adoption is relatively new in Chinese society, but Holt has long been a leader in promoting the practice. And today, many children are able to join adoptive families in China. Most of these children are young, healthy girls, which means most children waiting for families through international adoption are older or have special needs.
Although Holt does not operate as a domestic placing agency within China, Holt’s team in China works with local governments to perform homestudy assessments for families adopting domestically. We also provide orphanage trainings on how to do homestudy assessments — and why they are necessary.
In 2011, Holt began overseeing a special medical foster home called “Peace House” for children in orphanage care who are in need of critical medical procedures. At Peace House, children receive pre- and post-operative care, and each child is matched with a medically trained caregiver who provides one-on-one, round-the-clock care. The care children receive at Peace House helps them grow strong enough for surgery. Post surgery, they return to Peace House to recover and heal. Many children who stay at Peace House are quickly matched with adoptive families, while others return to their orphanages to await a permanent plan for their future. Children come to Peace House from orphanages all over China, and receive the best possible medical care and resources in the country. Today, Holt sponsors and donors support three medical foster homes in China including Peace House, with locations in Tianjin, Changchun and Bayannur.
International Adoption from China
Helping Children Join Loving, Permanent Families
Since 1992, Holt International has united more than 7,000 children from China with adoptive families in the U.S. In the China region, Holt also has adoption programs in Hong Kong and Taiwan.