You started sponsoring little Jessica three years ago. You picked her because of her mischievous grin and her pigtails. You’ve been writing letters back and forth and are slowly starting to feel like you’re getting a glimpse into her world and what her daily life is like. You’re praying for her, and you find you’ve grown quite attached.
Then you find out that her child development center has closed, and suddenly this relationship you’ve begun to build comes to an abrupt end.
Naturally, you want more information, but are left with the little that you got through the last communication.
We partner with more than 6,900 churches worldwide to implement our sponsorship program. And last fiscal year, 175 centers closed. (Updated as May 27, 2016.)
The number of child development centers that close each year varies. They close for a variety of reasons, and each case is different.
- A center might close because of unresolved financial integrity issues.
- A center might close because the church partner is having difficulty maintaining the staff and volunteers needed to successfully implement the program and no longer wants to continue the program.
- A center might close because the church leadership and the center’s staff have relationship conflicts.
- Or, on the positive side, a center may close because the church partner no longer needs assistance from Compassion.
If in the future the church would like to engage in another partnership with us, they can, but they would need to follow the process of opening a new center at their church.
The Partnership Facilitator (PF), the direct link between our Country Office and our centers, is the person who visits the centers to ensure they are running properly.
If the PF encounters problems at a particular center, he works with the center staff and the Country Office to resolve the issues. He will visit the center to work on development plans to help resolve the issues. He will meet with the pastor and the leadership of the church.
If necessary, the Country Director will meet with the pastor or even with the president of the church’s denomination.
Sometimes, however, the issues may persist, in which case the center will be put on suspension. In some cases, if the problems remain unresolved, the situation may end with the closure of the center.
However, not all closures follow this process. Sometimes a church partner will decide to end our partnership without going through the suspension process, or vice versa, depending on what the circumstances are in that particular case.
If a center is closed, the Country Office fills out the appropriate forms and sends them to the Global Ministry Center in Colorado as soon as possible. The closure is processed within seven days and is communicated to the appropriate Global Partners so they can share the news with you.
The Country Office also tries to transfer as many sponsored children as they can to another nearby center. However, if this is not possible, the children are “departed” from the program.
It is never easy to hear that a little one you have been praying and caring for is no longer part of our program. But know that we do all that we can to ensure that not only are our programs implemented with the utmost integrity, but also to resolve issues within our centers whenever possible, and ultimately, to transfer children to nearby centers when necessary.
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So far in the 7 years we have been sponsoring children, this hasn’t happened to any of our kids, I pray that it doesn’t. It breaks my heart to think of this happening especially with the kids we have sponsored for 7 years or more.
in as much as it is ok for them to close down in times of crisis, it really gets to the kids who for a long time had depended on the facilities.
Absolutely breaks my heart.
We have sponsored a total of five children so far. It has been a great joy to bless and be blessed by these children. For some reason two of the five children are among the “departed” children. They may be “departed,” but they are not forgotten in our prayers. This experience has also helped us pray more for the leaders of the child development centers.