Key Areas of Focus: Deinstitutionalization, Family Reintegration
Background: After reading a story in the New York Times Magazine about children being sold into slavery in Ghana, West Africa, John Stevens and Marci Kirk Stevens felt that they needed to do something to help. Their original plan was to start an orphanage in Ghana but after visiting many orphanages in Ghana they felt an orphanage may not be the best option to care for orphaned and abandoned children.They sought advice from national and global experts, did extensive research into best practices, and determined that children should be raised in a loving family. Kaeme then joined forces with the Ghanaian Department of Social Welfare to find a permanent loving family for each child.
What They Do: Kaeme's mission is to build families and protect vulnerable children in orphanages in Ghana. Their vision is for every child in an orphanage to find a healthy loving family. Activities include:
- Building child profiles: Kaeme partners with the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) to canvas orphanages across Ghana, scouring records, talking with caregivers, and interviewing children to create a profile on the child’s history, health, and family. The information contained in these profiles allows the team to determine the best care option for each child, identify information gaps, and thoughtfully match each child with an appropriate loving family. The organization's goal is always to reunite children with their own family members whenever possible.
- Building relationships: During orphanage visits, DSW representatives build stronger ties between the orphanage and DSW. This facilitates the legal registration of institutions, clearer communication between DSW and the orphanages, and better follow-up with the children.
- Building families: As each child’s file is completed, Kaeme creates a secure online profile for the child. Kaeme then hosts a Child Care Conference at which the team works with DSW social workers to create a care plan for each child. Placing each child with their own family members is a priority. Kaeme then does a home assessment to ensure that reunification will be successful. The child is then gradually reintegrated with their family. They receive a reunification package (containing items such as a bed mattress, mosquito net, cooking oil, doll/soccer ball, and more) to ease the transition.
Where They Work: Ghana
- website: kaeme.org
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Kaeme-Foundation-244458855695520/