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When a Child Leaves Our Sponsorship Program

Child sponsorship Our desire is that every child participates in our Child Sponsorship [3] Program until completion [4]. Regrettably, this does not always happen. After an average of 5.87 years in our program, 10.3 percent of children leave our program — for a variety of reasons.

In the contact center we’re responsible for processing the paperwork for every child that leaves our program — “departs” in Compassion lingo. On average, we deal with about 1,500 to 3,000 departures a week.

Staffing and workload limitations prevent us from calling each and every sponsor whose child departs our program. We call only in the most sensitive cases. The remaining notifications occur by mail.

However, our desire is to reach the point where we can handle all the notifications by phone.

Children leave our program [5] for different reasons, some Compassion initiated, some chosen by the child or family.

We remove children from our program if they stop attending for more than two consecutive months (How can we provide the benefits if they don’t attend?) or if they are continually disruptive and cause issues for the other children.

Children may choose to leave because they are moving to another area where we do not work, their parents are not Christians and do not agree with the biblical teaching their child is receiving, they must begin working to help support the family, they lose interest in the program, or they don’t have time to attend due to a heavy load of school work, among other reasons.

No matter the reason for leaving, a member of the child development center staff always meets with the child’s family or guardians to discuss options for the child to continue in our program. Our desire is always for the child to continue, but that is not always possible.

After a final decision is made, the church staff fills out the departure paperwork. After being approved by our country office staff, we receive the paperwork in our office in Colorado the following day.

Once received, Jeremy, an Operations Specialist in the contact center, organizes and prints the paperwork. As able, phone representatives finish the departure process by completing the necessary data entry and possibly contacting the sponsor by phone.

Receiving a letter or call saying that a child you have been sponsoring is no longer in our program can be quite upsetting. We speak to sponsors every day who have received this news, and many of them want more information about why the child left.

Sometimes the person filling out the paperwork at the child development center provides a wealth of information; sometimes they only include basic information. Either way, our contact center staff has only as much information as the church in the field provides.

As of yet, none of my sponsored children have left or completed the program. When our relationship ends, for whatever reason, it will be a sad day. However, I find comfort in the fact that God holds each and every one of them in His hand and loves them more than I can imagine.

If one of my children departs the program before completion, I may not receive all the details I want or I may need to understand why our relationship ended so suddenly. But why do I think I deserve an explanation? Who am I to expect the intimate details of my children’s lives?

I simply must trust that God will take care of my precious children. And I excitedly wait for the day when I will see them again.