HOST FAMILY RESPONSIBILITIES
ONETrack International places vulnerable children in safe home environments that are run by qualified caretakers. Our primary goal is to pair orphans/vulnerable children (OVCs) with immediate biological family members within their communities of birth. We work with the community, the child, and local specialists to make reintegration (the placement of OVCs) possible, and provide financial and material support to ensure that a suitable caretaker is able to provide for the needs of the vulnerable child. We know that raising a child can be difficult for the unprepared, which is why we offer a support and resources to the host families in our programs. In return, we expect the host family to provide a place within their existing households that is beneficial to the wellbeing of a child. Cooperation on the part of the host family is the key to achieving a successful and safe placement of a vulnerable child, and host families are considered partners.
The host family is at the center of the reintegration process. The host family is the program participant with the most bearing over the child’s future after the initial placement. It is the host family that will have to take care of all the basic needs and daily activities of the child. It is also up to the host family to create and facilitate an environment that is safe for the child. Given this relationship between the host family and the child, there are some expectations of how a host family must act while participating in OTI’s program.
- OTI expects the host family to meet the basic social, educational, and hygienic/health needs that a child has.
- OTI expects the host family to refrain from behaviors that constitute neglect or abuse toward the child.
Host families are required to meet these expectations while in ONETrack International’s Transition to Home program. OTI’s field teams support the facilitation of those things that a host family needs assistance with in order to welcome additional children into their households (in the form of funds, materials, supplies, and things of that nature).
Host Family Social Responsibility
A host family must provide the child with:
- A supportive and nurturing home environment
- The same treatment as given to every other child in the household
- The same treatment as given to every other child in the community
- The opportunity to participate in the family’s daily life and activities
- The opportunity to interact with other family and community members
Host Family Educational Responsibility
A host family must provide a child with:
- The ability to regularly attend school
- Reasonable guidelines/expectations of their grades and graduation
- Support for school activities
- The supplies needed for educational success
Host Family Hygienic/Health Responsibility
A host family must provide a child with:
- The expectation to practice basic hygiene
- Hygienic supplies (clothes, shoes, toothbrushes, etc.) to practice basic hygiene
- All the vaccinations, immunizations, and checkups common to their regional standards
- A clean household that does not create a health risk
- Regular meals and nutrition
Prohibited Host Family Behavior
A host family is not allowed to:
- Physically, mentally, emotionally, or sexually abuse a child
- The World Health Organization (WHO) identified the above behaviors as forms of violence against children and has released guidelines on how to identify these behaviors. (1)
- Violate the child labor policies of ONETrack International that prohibit an OVC from working until an acceptable age
- Encourage a child to engage in illegal activities (ie. extortion, theft, or violent actions)
- Encourage a child to partake in substance abuse (ie. alcohol and drugs)
Host Family Supervision
ONETrack International has an accountability system to ensure that a host family is consistently meeting program expectations. The committee of community leaders and other stakeholders (set at the beginning of each new project) should put in place a number of accountability systems so that the community could oversee the reintegration project. This setup allows OTI to flag any irregular or unethical behavior within our programs. There are also teams on the field that are capable of monitoring the day-to-day activities of a host family. Additional monitoring both remote and in-person is conducted by OTI’s Monitoring and Evaluation team, which is tasked with evaluating the program’s success.