Child sponsorship We’ve noticed variations of these questions popping up in several of our posts about letter-writing. So we approached Bill Dunigan, a man for the people and a team leader in our contact center, to help us address them.

Thanks Bill.


Can I stay in contact with my child if he or she graduates or leaves the child sponsorship program?

If you tell us you want to continue writing to your child, we’ll send you information to read, sign and return to us.

The form we send will describe what your new relationship will look like and will give us permission to share your contact information with our country staff, who will then share it with your child. If your child wants to keep in touch with you also, he or she will send you a letter or an e-mail to begin the conversation.

The main thing to keep in mind is that translation services no longer will be provided —something to consider if you do not speak the child’s language.

Also, since the child will be out of our program, we cannot make any guarantees about the regularity or quality of the correspondence from the child. Plus, we won’t be able to help with questions that may arise.

And finally, it’s important to know that sharing your information means you could potentially be contacted by others, such as your child’s relatives, friends or acquaintances who might want to contact you for personal gain.

Why do children leave the sponsorship program before graduation?

The reasons children leave can vary.

  • Sometimes kids leave because their family’s financial situation has improved and the family thinks Compassion is no longer needed.
  • Often we see a child leave because the child needs to be at home to take care of a younger sibling while the parents or guardians work.
  • But the most common reason is the family has moved to a place where we do not have a child development center, and the move typically occurs because the family is seeking a better life with greater economic opportunity.

What happens to a child who graduates from the sponsorship program?

It’s a good question.

With more than 1 million sponsored kids in 25 developing countries, the answer could be as varied as a response to: What do young people in the U.S. do when they complete high school or college?

While the specifics are different in an environment of severe poverty, young people in developing countries have the same general aspirations as we do: They want to create a better life for their families, the people of their communities and themselves.

In releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name, our sponsorship program focuses on each child’s spiritual, economic, social and physical needs. When a child completes the program, he or she has had opportunities to know and understand the Bible, and receive Jesus as Savior.

Also, the child has been reminded of the importance of making thoughtful decisions about health, nutrition and sexuality, and will have learned at least one income-generating skill.

Finally, social skills gained while in the program will help the child be comfortable in personal interactions as well as in the larger context of community.

All of this combines to highlight our holistic distinctive, with the Good News of Jesus at the core.

But what does a child do when graduation arrives?

Our country staff tell us of young men in Africa who become car mechanics, or earn a living as a bus driver in their country’s tourist industry.

Some kids go on to higher education in the country, possibly through our Leadership Development Program.

A girl in Haiti may use her sewing skills to make and sell clothing in the market. A boy in Uganda may use his agricultural skills to raise a crop to sell.

Many Compassion children are taught the art of serigraphy — making T-shirts or decorative cloth using the silkscreen process, to sell in a local market or as a street vendor.

Often, children learn about hydroponics, cultivating plants in a nutrient-rich solution rather than soil.

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  1. Jun 3, 2009
    at 5:40 am

    Thanks for answering those questions :) I would LOVE to continue to write my children after they graduate…to see where God takes them :)

  2. Mike Stephens
    Jun 3, 2009
    at 6:02 am

    “The Class of ’85: Where Are They Now?”

    It was great to see the results!

  3. Jun 3, 2009
    at 6:04 am

    Gonna check out “The Class of ’85: Where Are They Now?” right now!

  4. Amy
    Jun 3, 2009
    at 6:16 am

    Thanks for answering some of our questions about children leaving the program. I had a sponsored child who was departed from the program after the post-election violence in Kenya. Compassion didn’t have specific information on why she left; just that she hadn’t returned to the CDC for several months (I’d imagine this was the case for a lot of children). If she should happen to re-enroll in Compassion’s program at some point, would I be contacted about sponsoring her again? Or would she go through the normal process that a newly enrolled child goes through?

  5. Amy Wallace
    Jun 3, 2009
    at 7:08 am

    I would love to keep in contact with my children after they graduate, but since my oldest is 12, I have a few years before I have to think about that.

  6. Bob
    Jun 3, 2009
    at 7:17 am

    I put a similar question to the pastors of our church partners that I met.

    What happens to a child who graduates from the sponsorship program? Do we just push them out of the nest” and hope they can fly?

    Consistently I was told that the local church continues to guide, equip and track that young person (sometimes up to two years) through their transition as a productive Christian adult.

    That answer seemed so obvious after it was spoken. It IS the role of the church (your church and mine too) to minister to the needs of their congregation, community and the world.

  7. Jun 3, 2009
    at 11:09 am

    Thank you so much for that blog.

    I like the class of 85. When I was in Bolivia, I actually met with Miguel that was in the magazine. So, it was nice to see him in there.

    I would love to see all of the magazines of the current countries on line like that and maybe have one general page with links to all of them, including what is covered in the magazines.

    I got a question, that I actually spoke with Miguel about.

    Are there any statistics as to what the “success” rate is of the children that graduate?

    I.e. these types of questions:

    What percentage has broken the cycle of poverty that now their children would not need a sponsor?

    What percentage is still actively participating in a local church?

    etc…

    On the topic of staying in touch with the children after they graduate, I can’t imagine not… I’m busy learning Spanish for those days and when I visited them, we’ve actually spoken about that and they’ve expressed an interest too to be in touch.

    Blessings,

    Kees

  8. Barbara M.
    Jun 3, 2009
    at 12:56 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly with Kees! How could you NOT want to stay in touch with your child? So much love has developed from the time spent writing, praying, loving…….it would be like saying goodbye to your own child just because they graduated from high school. I can’t imagine it! I would be interested to hear from anyone who has kept in touch with their child. How did you go about doing it? Was the language difference a problem. Just curious. Thanks.

  9. Jun 3, 2009
    at 1:19 pm

    One of the children we sponsor is graduating this fall. She has two younger siblings. I am wondering if, in fact that family continues to be eligible to register with Compassion, will I be given the opportunity to sponsor one of the younger children in that family?

    I have spent time with that sponsored child, and been to her home. I’ve met her extended family, and would love to sponsor another child in that family if possible.

  10. Jun 3, 2009
    at 5:14 pm

    Great post…I’ve wondered about all of these questions before.

  11. Kim Edge
    Jun 3, 2009
    at 5:18 pm

    My child writes in Amharic, but I am hopeful that I could hire someone to translate for me. We have an Ethiopian restaurant in town and students from Ethiopia live here. I’m sure there must be a way…I think I read that Amharic is going to be the latest release for a Microsoft product…and as for the internet, well, Ethiopia can just about go nowhere but up in availability of the internet :P I wish we could invest in internet and solar power in that country! There is so much potential there! Our kids could work to get that country on solar electricity like the “Light bringers” in one community did…I wish the kids from India and Ethiopia could cooperate to realize this…

  12. Kelly
    Jun 3, 2009
    at 6:36 pm

    I was wondering if there is an age limit as to when your sponsored child must leave the Compassion program? One of my sponsored children is almost 19 and is going to a university, but she must still be going to the Compassion Center too? I just wondered if there is an age where the sponsorship is over?

  13. Jun 3, 2009
    at 9:08 pm

    Thanks for this!

    My children are far from graduating. I wish I spoke their languages so that corresponding would still be possible.

    I had the sad thing happen in one of my 10 year olds leaving very early. No on could tell me why exactly and parents don’t have to say. But I do miss Delia. It will be a year in July. I did get to send her one last letter. I appreciate Compassion letting me do this!

    Even though I no longer have contact with Delia, I do still pray for her and still wonder about her. I think I always will. I hope to meet her in heaven some day.

  14. Jun 4, 2009
    at 8:38 am

    Originally Posted By Amy I had a sponsored child who was departed from the program after the post-election violence in Kenya. . . . If she should happen to re-enroll in Compassion’s program at some point, would I be contacted about sponsoring her again?

    @Amy – We would definitely contact you. :-)

    It doesn’t happen very often, a child leaving the sponsorship program and then returning, but when it does, we do contact contact the former sponsor and ask offer the opportunity to sponsor the child again.

  15. Jun 4, 2009
    at 8:50 am

    Originally Posted By Michael One of the children we sponsor is graduating this fall. She has two younger siblings. I am wondering if, in fact that family continues to be eligible to register with Compassion, will I be given the opportunity to sponsor one of the younger children in that family?

    @Michael – You wouldn’t be automatically contacted because our systems wouldn’t make the connection of your child graduating from the program and another child from the same family being registered in the program at the same time as your current child’s graduation.

  16. Barbara M.
    Jun 4, 2009
    at 9:56 am

    I liked the idea of hiring a translator if necessary. What a great idea and it would definitely be worth the cost just to be able to continue to stay in touch. I have lost two children in the past year. One child had a baby and left the program and one child was taken out of the program and sent to a Buddhist monastery. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about these two children. I will pray for them forever.

  17. Amy
    Jun 4, 2009
    at 10:18 am

    Thanks Chris! I have been wondering about that for a while, and I appreciate you taking the time to answer. :)

  18. Jun 4, 2009
    at 10:58 am

    This is excellent! Thank you so much for this great information –

  19. Stephanie G
    Jun 4, 2009
    at 11:44 am

    Hi.

    My children are all in Africa. Other than those mentioned in the post, what other income-generating skills are taught to children in countries like Tanzania and Uganda? I wonder what the options are for them and how I might encourage my kids.

    At what age does vocational type training generally begin for most of Compassion’s kids?

    My oldest child (15) is also my newest sponsorship so I don’t know much about her yet but she IS an orphan and I wonder how well equipped she would be if her grandmother could no longer care for her and her siblings.

  20. Stephanie G
    Jun 4, 2009
    at 11:47 am

    Has anyone else had experience with staying in touch with their sponsored children after graduation?

    I haven’t read too much about that on the blog so maybe it is not a common practice for most sponsors.

  21. Leanne
    Jun 4, 2009
    at 1:43 pm

    The first child I ever sponsored through Compassion graduated from the program a couple of months ago at the age of 17. She lives in Peru.

    Believe it or not, but we’re actually in touch with each other through Facebook (and I have her email address as well). I haven’t heard from her for a while – she was borrowing a computer from her uncle for her continued studies, but I am confident she has access to a computer/internet even though it might not be on a regular basis.

  22. Shannon K
    Jun 4, 2009
    at 9:33 pm

    I’m a little concerned about what happens when a child leaves the program, but from the sponsor’s perspective as well. A few years ago, I knew I had an extra source of income for a limited time and so purposely sponsored an older child (in addition to the younger child I still sponsor). When my older child left the program, I was *automatically* assigned another child. I contacted Compassion and explained that I couldn’t financially commit to another child. About a week later, I received a letter saying “we understand why you have to stop sponsoring” the child I’d been assigned and asking me to write a farewell letter to her — and I’d never sponsored her in the first place.

    This is only mildly frustrating from my perspective, but I *really* hope that the poor little girl I was assigned wasn’t told one day “great news — you’ve been sponsored!” and then soon after “oh sorry, guess not after all.” I would think that might be a little traumatic, or at least discouraging, for a child, and I really hope this kind of thing doesn’t happen again!

    • Peggy
      Jun 8, 2010
      at 11:14 pm

      I don’t know if policies differ in different areas, but a child I sponsored recently married. Someone from Compassion called to talk to me about it. I offered to sponsor another child (wherever most needed) and the support person wasn’t the one who suggested it. I hope this is done in all cases. I was told what little the caller knew and had a chance to ask any questions I wanted to ask. It helped!

  23. Jun 5, 2009
    at 11:58 am

    @Michael – If you call the contact center (800) 336-7676, the sponsor relations representative can determine if one of the siblings is registered and awaiting a sponsor. If so, you can sponsor the child.

    If nothing comes up, the representative can have a memo sent to the field to see if a sibling is going to be registered.

  24. Mary P.
    Jun 5, 2009
    at 6:00 pm

    My sponsored children are not at the point of graduating yet, but I’m definitely interested in completing the Continuing Correspondence Form when the time is right.
    I’m aware that Compassion will no longer be the “mailbox”, but am excited this option is
    offered by Compassion.
    I agree with Barbara M.(#8) I can’t imagine not being in touch with my sponsored children.

  25. Jun 5, 2009
    at 8:39 pm

    hmm…interesting comment, Shannon. Hope you get an answer, because that would be really hard on the child. I know that the kids aren’t told they have a sponsor until after the first payment is made at least.

    But I wasn’t aware that new children were automatically assigned to a sponsor after a previous child leaves the program…I’d much rather be able to select a new child from a specific country or project when the opportunity comes up, instead of being randomly assigned one. Is that possible?

    (I shouldn’t have to worry about this for a few years yet, but I am curious.)

  26. Larry
    Jun 6, 2009
    at 2:42 pm

    Since training and working in intl child development w/ 2 agencies, I maintain concern about the long term effects of sponsorship benefits: education, nutritional and health training and monitoring, Christian education, and the international aspects of cross-cultural communication, primarily through letters. Please advise of any studies of follow up. Older sponsored children w/vocational and higher ed are such a small percentage – great to highlight. However, it would be helpful to see research results indicating life styles, income generation, spiritual maturity, and other indicators compared to their specific cultural groups. I know ministering helps! Bless you for such outstanding outreach!

  27. Barbara M.
    Jun 7, 2009
    at 9:35 am

    I,too, have questions about the futures of these children. I sponsor a child through another agency as well and my child is in secondary school in Rwanda. His older sister graduated from secondary school some years ago and now at age 23 cannot find support or employment. When my 15 year old child finishes school will he meet the same fate? Some of my children with Compassion live in areas where most of the adults are unemployed…….so what is THEIR future? Secondary school is wonderful if it is available but then what? We are always told “They will be taught a trade……a trade for what? If their parents are out of work where are all these jobs coming from? I would be SO interested to see a discussion on this topic.

  28. Stephanie G
    Jun 7, 2009
    at 1:57 pm

    I am curious to see a response to Tina’s question. When a sponsored child graduates, is a new child randomly assigned or can sponsors choose their next child, if they desire to continue sponsoring?

  29. Jun 8, 2009
    at 1:50 pm

    @Stephanie G -

    Yes. Sponsors can definitely choose their next child and often do so based on many variables: name, age, gender, birthdate, country, continent, student center, length of time waiting for a sponsor, whether the child is in a region affected by HIV/AIDS, whether the child is mentally or physically challenged, etc.

  30. Jun 8, 2009
    at 2:17 pm

    @Shannon K, @Tina, @Stephanie G

    When a child leaves the sponsorship program, we ask ourselves two questions.

    1. Do we call or send a letter to notify the sponsor?
    2. Does the sponsor want a new child or does he or she want time to ‘consider’ taking on a new child?

    We call sponsors if they have sponsored the child for 10 years or longer; or if the reason the child is leaving the program is because the child has married, is pregnant or has run away.

    On a phone call, we explain why the child has left the program, and we ask that second question above.

    A yes or no to the first part of the question – Does the person want to sponsor a new child? – is pretty straight forward: help select a new child or annotate the account that a new sponsorship is not desired.

    If the person wants time to think about sponsoring another child, we send a packet with a child’s photo and biography for the sponsor to review, consider and pray over.

    If we do not hear from the sponsor within five weeks, the child is added to the sponsor’s account – a process that is explained during the call.

    If after receiving the child packet the sponsor does decide to help another child, we don’t require the person to accept the child that was sent. The sponsor can choose a different child by calling our contact center.

    If we don’t call the sponsor about the child’s departure from the sponsorship program, we will send a letter instead, and with the letter we will include a child’s packet for consideration. This is what Shannon experienced.

    The letter requests the sponsor call us within five weeks if he or she does not want to sponsor the child or if the sponsor wants to sponsor a different child.

    Children are only told they have a sponsor when the child is “officially” added to the sponsor’s account.

    A child is “officially” added to a sponsors account when we have been clearly told by the sponsor, “Yes. I want to sponsor another child,” or when the five week consideration period elapses without the sponsor expressly telling us no.

  31. Shannon K
    Jun 8, 2009
    at 3:42 pm

    Bill -

    Thanks for responding to my question — it’s something that had been on my mind for over six months. I’ve found myself praying occasionally that my inability to sponsor the little girl I was assigned did not cause her to feel rejected, and it’s quite a relief to know that I didn’t inadvertently traumatize her!

    If I might make a suggestion…it would be kinder (to the sponsor) and also more cost-effective if Compassion didn’t send the “we understand why you’re discontinuing your sponsorship” letter to individuals like me who cannot take on an additional child. I called Compassion to inform them of my decision the very same day I received the original letter (which announced that the girl I had previously been sponsoring was leaving the program), so it’s not as if the five week consideration period had expired.

    Thanks again!

  32. Stephanie G
    Jun 8, 2009
    at 3:47 pm

    @Chris Giovagnoni

    Thanks, Chris, for letting us know that. I appreciate the choices Compassion gives us as sponsors.

  33. Stephanie G
    Jun 8, 2009
    at 3:52 pm

    Bill,

    I appreciate the thorough explanation. I continue to be impressed at how Compassion handles situations like these with sensitivity and care for both the children and the sponsors.

    Thanks so much!

  34. Sara Benson
    Jun 8, 2009
    at 7:10 pm

    Fun post!! I hope to be able to communicate with my children when they graduate the program. I was given the option of corresponding with one of my girls when she graduated into LDP but then we found a way to keep sponsoring her.

  35. Sara Benson
    Jun 8, 2009
    at 7:18 pm

    @Bill Dunigan – Thank you for explaining how the new child packets are sent out when one child graduates. One of my Grandmother’s children is about to graduate (August) and we had talked about looking at the website together to choose a new child. My grandmother has sponsored this boy for 14 years so I assume that means that she will get the call and that she can tell the rep not to send a package but that she would be adding a child from the website soon. Is that right?

  36. Julie
    Jun 8, 2009
    at 9:35 pm

    I sponsor a young man in Honduras. In the child information section it says his completion date is 11/1/09. Is this the date he will graduate from the sponsorship program? If so, will I be notified beforehand? Also, I believe I read that I could give him a monetary graduation gift?
    Thank you

  37. Bethany
    Jun 9, 2009
    at 12:12 pm

    Amy:
    If a child does come back to Compassion, once the staff has that child re-enrolled in the program they send on the information to us here in the US. If the child previously had a sponsor, we will contact that sponsor and give them the first opportunity to sponsor.

  38. Bill Dunigan
    Jun 11, 2009
    at 5:35 pm

    @Julie

    Yes, your child will complete our program at that time, or within weeks of that date. You will be notified shortly after the child completes the program, typically within several weeks.

    You can give a final monetary gift of $10 to $300, provided the child has not left the area in which he or she attended our program. If the child did leave the area, we could not accept the gift money, because we might not be able to deliver it to the child.

  39. Jun 15, 2009
    at 1:44 pm

    @Stephanie G – I’m the only one manning this fort, so I apologize for the delay in answering your question.

    Here’s what the folks in the contact center shared with me.

    Income-generating skills vary by community; each child development center will provide vocational training based on what is needed in the community, as well as what they are equipped to teach the children.

    The age at which children start learning a vocation skill will also vary from center to center.

    With that said, you may want specifically ask your children what they may be learning at their centers or what sort of vocational training is offered.

    I’m also trying to find out the types of vocational training that are most common in Uganda and Tanzania. I’ll let you know what I learn.

  40. Jun 17, 2009
    at 3:41 pm

    @Stephanie G – The Tanzania office shared the following with me.

    The children in our program have been undergoing these vocational trainings: motor vehicle mechanics, cookery, electrical installation, masonry, metal works, plumbing, welding, and wiring. These are the common vocational trainings.

    On income generating activities they do almost the same as vocational; except that the duration is normally short. The typical ones are: tailoring, carpentry, gardening, cookery and bakery.

    The normal age for these skill trainings is from 12 to 15.

  41. Stephanie G
    Jun 19, 2009
    at 7:10 am

    @Chris Giovagnoni

    Chris,

    Thanks for finding that information. Four of my kids are in Tanzania, and most are in the age range mentioned, so that info. will help me ask more specific questions in my letters.

  42. Jan Woodford
    Jul 31, 2009
    at 9:22 am

    I have a correspondence child in Ethiopia who is scheduled to finish the program next June. I’m concerned about him, because I get the impression that he may be a little slow. He’s in the 9th grade. I’ve tried to encourage him to prepare for a money earning activity to do when he graduates. I wish I knew more about the culture, and exactly what kind of jobs might be available to him, or what he has prepared for, if anything. I’ve only had him a short time, but he has been on my heart. His name is Muluken.

  43. Barbara M.
    Jul 31, 2009
    at 4:46 pm

    @Jan Woodford – Jan, I share your concern. I have several children who are older and some do seem quite…….well, as you said, slow. I wonder what will become of them as far as their future. So many of the adults don’t even have work in some of these areas. What will become of these children? They are always on my heart as well.

  44. Andrea
    Jan 26, 2010
    at 8:38 am

    If your child leaves the program can you write a farewell letter?

  45. Jan 26, 2010
    at 3:24 pm

    Yes, under most circumstances you can write a farewell letter to your child! This is a nice way to wish the child well, and pass on your blessings for the next chapter in the child’s life. The child must still be in the same area, for our staff to deliver the letter. We ask that the sponsor not expect an acknowledgement of that letter, as the child at that point is no longer in our program. Another resource available to the sponsor when the child leaves the program is to provide a final monetary gift to the child. It is best if the farewell letter and final gift be received in our office within about 3 months of the child leaving our program.

  46. Kim Edge
    Apr 7, 2010
    at 10:08 pm

    Dear Bill Dunigan,

    I find it disturbing that Compassion would put the burden of not sponsoring a subsequent child on me, and on my expressly contacting your organization within a five week period of my girl’s graduation to say “no”. It’s not a matter of whether I “want” to sponsor another child. I’m “unable”. I don’t have the financial or emotional resources to deal with loving another child in poverty. It has been painful and worrisome to think about my girl’s living conditions and future. I doubt many people (who don’t have an anxiety disorder) could “understand why” I will not be continuing to sponsor more kids, so if I got a letter saying that phrase I would be hurt (and I will not even be “discontinuing”, because I “completed” my sponsorship duties to the young lady I chose to sponsor.) If you want to send me a “thank you for completing your sponsorship of Chucha” letter with an additional award for “most worried sponsor mom of an Ethiopian sponsor child” that would be welcome, and you can invite me to sponsor again if I am able. To include a child’s sponsor packet saying “we will activate this IF we hear from you” would be fair. But I think making me call you and turn down another child is unfair. It’s hard enough that I may never hear from my Chucha again. I already feel like I failed to deliver her from poverty in Ethiopia. I don’t know what will happen to her when her grandparents die. I’ve sent her and them as much additional money as we can afford. I was an orphan myself. I’m scared for her. I would rather give to the vulnerable children fund from now on than worry about one specific child. Why do I have to expressly call you to say no? Have some compassion on ME, brother. I love my girl but I ain’t putting myself through this again…think up a new letter to send out! :P

  47. Paul Clutterbuck
    Apr 8, 2010
    at 11:40 pm

    @Bill (#45), just this week, I received a letter from a project director in Honduras to say that the 11-year-old girl I’ve sponsored for two years has left the project, but didn’t give a satisfactory explanation of the reason for this. It was especially bewildering for me, given that she had frequently thanked me in her letters for the difference my sponsorship was making in her life. It was a very special relationship, where we exchanged up to 4-5 letters a year, though I hadn’t had a chance to visit because of the political crisis last year.

    What I’d like to know is how much effort is put into encouraging children to return to the project. My concern is that children’s lives can be put at risk if they depart from the program at a very young age, and return to their pre-sponsored life. Worse yet, children may become at risk of trafficking and slavery, or may lose their Christian faith, which would have eternal consequences for them.

    Is it appropriate for me as sponsor, when I write my last letter, to “strongly advise” my child to return to the project? Also, can children be accepted for re-enrollment if they are more than 10 years old? As I see it, the project remains the safest place for children until they are quite a bit older than this, and I’d hate for a child’s misguided decision to have the kind of permanent and far-reaching consequences that I have described.

  48. Apr 12, 2010
    at 1:27 pm

    Hi Kim –

    Our intent here is certainly not to disturb or burden you. I hear in your note your concern and your heart for children in need. Thank you for choosing Compassion to partner with to help children in the developing world. I consider that a great blessing and a compliment.

    There are several dynamics that play into the event of a child leaving the Compassion program. Our discussion highlights one of those aspects; notifying the child’s sponsor that the child is leaving the program, and also offering the sponsor a way to sponsor again at this time, if they choose to.

    You have described what the process is now for some of our sponsors (remember the several dynamics comment above); we send to a sponsor another child’s information, and the sponsor can consider if they want to sponsor another child in place of the child who left the program. The process I am describing here takes about 6 weeks, the time in which we ask the sponsor to call us if they choose not to sponsor the new child. This process underwent a change several years ago, when the phone call that we ask from the sponsor was for a different reason.

    Years ago, I’m guessing 10 or so, the process was such that in the situation described above, we asked the sponsor to call us if they did want to sponsor the new child. And, as it turns out, we heard from many of our sponsors who said – please don’t make me pick up the phone to tell you that I want to sponsor the new child; I want to sponsor the new child.

    I will end my thoughts today with the sentiments that I opened with: Disturbing you is not our intent. The last thing we want to do is disturb someone who has been supporting a Compassion-assisted child. We have tried to tailor our processes in a way that suits the needs of a majority of our sponsors. We think we have come fairly close to that, but we know that every communication has in it a potential for misunderstanding.

    Thank you, Kim, for your post. It is a pleasure speaking to supporters of Compassion. And, I think your idea of giving to a fund to help vulnerable children is great!

  49. Apr 12, 2010
    at 3:56 pm

    Paul –

    The most common reason a child leaves a Compassion program is that they move to a place where Compassion does not have a program. Often in search of better job prospects, the mom or dad will pack up the family and move to a new community, and we may not have a church partner by their new home. I don’t know if this is the situation for your child, but it is the reason we see most often when a child leaves our program. Other reasons kids leave the program include attendance issues or if the family’s situation has change positively to where Compassion assistance is no longer needed.

    We visit with the child and the family, to determine the reason for the child’s leaving, if it is the family’s decision. Any questions are addressed that the family may have about Compassion sponsorship. The child and family are reminder of the benefits of Compassion sponsorship. Ultimately, if the family is making the decision to remove their child from the program, we honor that decision.

    You can advise in a final letter that the child consider the decision to leave the program, but by the time the letter is received in country, the child may have transitioned in their new life outside of Compassion.

    And, yes a child can be re-enrolled in the program after age 10.

  50. Kim Edge
    Apr 12, 2010
    at 4:28 pm

    Dear Bill Dunigan,

    Thank you for your kind response. I realize you cannot customize every response to every sponsor at the point that a child eventually leaves the program. I’m just glad I have learned from this blog to expect this eventuality of having to make the phone call. I wish I had the resources to do all the good that I would like to do. I am glad that there are other people who can take on a subsequent child easily. Perhaps the fact that I specifically picked Chucha off your web site confused me because I feel like I chose to sponsor HER, and not just be a sponsor of a child in general. I just hope the telephone operator does not make discontinuing sponsorship a guilt trip or as difficult as discontinuing a credit card. I think I am going to be grief stricken enough without going through having to explain myself. That is a sales technique used too often. I wish there was an “opt out” option for use to select online so we did not have to deal with telephoning you. It seems like it could be done by email these days.

    Thank you for your attention to your sponsors.

  51. Fred
    Jul 5, 2010
    at 4:29 pm

    I did not find the link to the information or form referred to above. Thank you

    • Jul 6, 2010
      at 7:39 am

      Compassion UK just launched a redesigned website. The information may not be online anymore. I will ask them.

  52. Brianne Mullins
    Jul 15, 2010
    at 7:46 am

    Hi Fred, this link has been updated and will now point to the correct article. Thanks for letting us know!

  53. Suzette Lyons
    Jul 19, 2010
    at 12:42 pm

    The question of “after the child graduates” is one of my biggest concerns for my sponsored child.

    Actually in the United States while kids are free to make their own decisions when they turn 18, very few are in a position to go it alone in taking care of themselves. Many do not graduate high school until almost 19. Most have family assistance with technical training or college for many more years. The biggest challenge for US foster children is lack of support during the four years after they turn 18.

    Are there any options for continuing to support the sponsored child if they continue on to college or vocational training?

    • Jul 19, 2010
      at 4:03 pm

      If your child applies for and is accepted into the Leadership Development Program, you will be given the opportunity to continue your sponsorship through the new program.

      If your child has graduated high school but remains in our sponsorship program you can continue your sponsorship until he or she graduates from the program. The blog post, How Long Does My Sponsorship Last?, has more info on this.

      If your child has graduated or left our sponsorship program, we do not offer programmatic opportunities for you to continue supporting the child.

  54. Lavonna Warner
    Jan 13, 2011
    at 12:45 pm

    I am very worried about my child. He came to me when he was already a teenager and although he has worked hard to catch up, he is only in the 10th grade. He has to leave the program because of his age. I wish he could stay in school and complete his education. I don’t think he can qualify for the Leadership program because he is not completed high school. He needs two more years.. I don’t think age should matter because I know my child still needs help. I want to stay in touch with my child and continue to help him but I I am afraid someone will take advantage and may cause him harm. I need Compassion to translate for me in my letters. I am very upset.

  55. Lavonna Warner
    Jan 13, 2011
    at 12:48 pm

    This terrible
    [ quote comment=”9612″]I’m a little concerned about what happens when a child leaves the program, but from the sponsor’s perspective as well. A few years ago, I knew I had an extra source of income for a limited time and so purposely sponsored an older child (in addition to the younger child I still sponsor). When my older child left the program, I was *automatically* assigned another child. I contacted Compassion and explained that I couldn’t financially commit to another child. About a week later, I received a letter saying “we understand why you have to stop sponsoring” the child I’d been assigned and asking me to write a farewell letter to her — and I’d never sponsored her in the first place.

    This is only mildly frustrating from my perspective, but I *really* hope that the poor little girl I was assigned wasn’t told one day “great news — you’ve been sponsored!” and then soon after “oh sorry, guess not after all.” I would think that might be a little traumatic, or at least discouraging, for a child, and I really hope this kind of thing doesn’t happen again!

    • Diane Nichols
      Jul 17, 2012
      at 11:04 am

      As a sponsor of 7plus years of sponsoring, It is my understanding that they don’t tell the child they are sponsored until the first payment is made, have you considered being a child correspondent? It doesn’t cost a thing

  56. Diane Nichols
    Jul 17, 2012
    at 11:02 am

    In all the years we have been sponsoring, we have only had 1 child leave us, and that was because the parents had arranged a marriage for her. My son only had one leave because they moved, that is a pretty good average, My son is e-mailing with a young man that he sponsored from the Philipines who has graduated and is working, it is so nice to have that option.

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