Mother holding daughter in Thailand

Holt Partner in Thailand Helps Produce Pioneering Family Strengthening Resource

In partnership with the Thai government and other nonprofits, Holt’s longtime partner in Thailand – Holt Sahathai Foundation – helped create a comprehensive handbook for family strengthening that details strategies and best practices for keeping children in the care of their families.

At Holt, we believe that the best place for a child to grow up is in their birth family within their birth community, whenever possible. However, forces like poverty and its myriad consequences threaten families’ ability to stay together. In many places, families are just one job loss or illness away from separation. Often, desperate parents relinquish their children to an orphanage just to ensure that they will have food.

Around the world, our staff works with local governments and non-profits to find creative, sustainable ways to empower families with emotional and financial resources to take loving care of their children. There are many ways to help families become stable and self-reliant! In Mongolia, Holt donors provide microloans that equip mothers with the resources they need to start their own sewing businesses. In Colombia, a Holt-supported daycare program provides free daytime care for children, which allows both parents to work. And in Uganda, job skills trainings and gifts of livestock provide families with enough income to save for their children’s education.

Family Strengthening in Thailand

Recently, in Thailand, a power web of partnerships between non-profits and the Thai government led to the creation of a pioneering handbook for supporting family stability! It’s called “Family Strengthening Handbook: A Guidebook for Practitioners Empowering Families Across Thailand.” It provides insights for organizations working to fortify families. And Holt Sahathai Foundation (HSF), our partner in Thailand, was key to this work.

“The Family Strengthening Handbook was developed as a joint effort between the Thai government, Holt Sahathai Foundation and international non-profits working in Thailand,” says Hang Dam, Holt International’s director of programs in Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. “It aims to introduce evidence-based best practices to guide social workers and child welfare practitioners who serve vulnerable children and families. The adoption of these best practices will not only support system change in Thailand and beyond, but it will also have a significant impact on the lives of children and families!”

The handbook outlines ways “to strengthen and preserve families to be the best possible place for children to grow up.”

Family strengthening is a model that Holt has supported around the world and through HSF for many years. A few years ago, families living in a small fishing community in Thailand faced a crisis due to commercial fishing depleting their waters, and many struggled to earn enough income to feed and educate their children. But then they received transformational family strengthening support from HSF! HSF connected the children with sponsors who helped cover their educational expenses. They also equipped parents with the resources they needed to start a communal savings account and grow food for supplemental nutrition and income. The result was that many families in the community are now better equipped to provide for their children and keep them in their care!

The new handbook unpacks this multi-faceted approach. It focuses on coming alongside families so that children can grow up in intact communities.

“The Family Strengthening Handbook is an outstanding achievement that creates huge impact in the child welfare system. The handbook provides detailed guidance on how to develop family strengthening programs to keep children with families, and how to respond to children and families in need of support using case management.”

Thoa Bui, Vice President of Programs & Services

Resilient Families Raise Strong Children

A resilient family is one of the most important ingredients for raising a strong, empowered child. We are so grateful to Holt Sahathai Foundation, the Thai government and the many other non-profits that put this valuable resource together. We are eager to see its positive effect on children and families – and the organizations that seek to support them – worldwide.

“The adoption of these best practices will not only support system change in Thailand and beyond,” says Hang, “but it will also have a significant impact on the lives of children and families!”

The Family Strengthening Handbook is for you if you want to: serve children in vulnerable communities, walk alongside families struggling in your community, keep families together, strengthen communities and keep children safe, or learn more about family strengthening best-practice strategies in a global setting. It offers valuable insights and tools for community leaders, social workers, non-profit organizations, volunteers and government officers.

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