A new global child welfare report shows that by the end of April 2021, 1.5 million children had lost a parent or a grandparent caregiver due to the coronavirus. The authors of Children: The Hidden Pandemic 2021 stated that without immediate action, the COVID-19 pandemic is destined to leave millions more children orphaned within the next year.
“These new estimates highlight the tremendous impact COVID-19 has had on children around the world,” said Elli Oswald, Executive Director of Faith to Action Initiative. “However, we know when families are supported during these tragic times, they can provide the love and care a child needs to thrive.”
Faith To Action Initiative plans to mobilize and educate Christian churches, faith-based organizations, and individuals to engage in care that upholds the vital importance of family in a child’s life in order to respond to this crisis.
“The Church is best placed to respond to the needs of these children as it carries out the vision we see in scripture of God’s intention for family, and ensures that a child never needs to be placed in an orphanage,” Oswald said.
Numerous members of the Faith to Action Initiative are urging Christians and the local church to invest efforts in strengthening families around the world, particularly children suffering from the loss of a parent or guardian.
“COVID-19 and its many ripple effects have done great harm to families worldwide. This tragedy brings an immense challenge and an immense opportunity,” said Jedd Medefind, President of Christian Alliance for Orphans. “The local church in every nation has both the calling and the community capable of making a world of difference — restoring broken families, strengthening struggling families, and welcoming children into new families whenever needed.”
Churches and families should look at this ongoing crisis and follow CHrist’s teaching of caring for the orphaned. It could be fundraising money to financially support a child in a different country, opening up your home to foster and/or eventually adopt an orphaned child.
Whatever the decision is, there is no denying it: children need help now.
“For the 1.5 million children who lost a caregiver due to COVID-19, the solution is the loving care of a family, not another orphanage. We urge Christians to support efforts to strengthen vulnerable families and communities, reunify families, and place children without caregivers in loving families, so that children never have to live in orphanages,” said Chris Palusky, the President and CEO of Bethany Christian Services.
The in-depth report was produced by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USAID, and World Without Orphans, in conjunction with several global child welfare experts within the World Health Organization, World Bank, and various institutions of higher education.