A collection of faith-based organizations are encouraging Christian non-profits to seek out the orphans of COVID-19 and serve them well.
The Faith to Action Coalition, a collection of faith-based child welfare organizations, have spoken out about the need to serve the recently orphaned children of the world. The response was provoked by a report released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimating that more than a million children worldwide have been orphaned due to COVID-19. “Orphanhood and caregiver deaths are a hidden pandemic resulting from COVID-19-associated deaths,” notes the press release for the study.
“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 Coalition director Elli Oswald told Religion News Service. “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.”
This emphasis on the family is a necessary solution for counting this “hidden pandemic.” According to CDC data, children who lose a primary caregiver are at higher risk of disease, abuse, sexual assault, and adolescent pregnancy. That is why Bethany Christian Services president Chris Palusky hopes to negate these potential symptoms by having Christians “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,”
The CDC estimates that 1,134,000 children have experienced the death of a primary caregiver between March 1st, 2020, and April 30th, 2021. The CDC bases this estimate on mortality data and national fertility statistics from 21 different countries.