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September Update Thailand
12 October 2016

Our National Foster Care Training & Resource Centre in Chiang Mai is a busy place. Our various meetings and training workshops are held here. This month, Baan Vieng Ping, one of the Child Welfare Homes (CWHs) in Chiang Mai, attended the final two days of Level 1 training. We are all delighted at the impact the training is having on the work in the home and in foster care. Baan Vieng Ping is one of three CWHs we work with that has been working with foster care for years prior to our arrival. A care worker at the home, who participated in the training said:

“It has made us love one another more.”

This is great news for both the staff, who are learning to appreciate each other more, and the children, as they benefit from well-functioning, happy, and caring caregivers. Another attendee commented:

“I would love to attend other training - even if I have to pay.”

These words are encouraging, and they show the importance and impact of our work here. It is evident that the care workers really enjoy learning new skills at the workshops.

Another highlight in September was our Training Manager Ning’s trip to the Northeast of the country to conduct some additional specialist training workshops. She worked with a number of boys from a CWH who were preparing for independence. Whilst completing doing identity exercises with them, Ning could see that quite a number of the boys knew almost nothing about their background, so it was difficult for them to do the exercises.

Thomas Abbott (Regional Manager, SE Asia) commented:

“We have completed training in Life Story Work with the Chiang Mai Home for Boys, which is also used in our Level 1 training programme.”

As a result, the social workers and superintendents have learned that they need to work on gathering information about the children’s backgrounds and find appropriate ways to share this information with the children. Many of the boys did not have realistic plans for their future (what they wanted to do after leaving the CWH). We were reminded why families and good parenting are so essential for children’s lives as they move towards their own independence.

It has been a very intense year of preparing and delivering training in Thailand. The majority of workshops have been delivered on site at CWHs, often with staff from three CWHs at one site. Typically, training is delivered by three members of the training team, often joined by Country Manager Ms Jane Arnott, who has involved all 15 project sites in 10 cities (two in Chiang Mai, and three in Bangkok) across Thailand. Feedback is consistently very positive, and the team have built strong relationships with Thailand’s CWHs and their staff. The level of professionalism, commitment and enthusiasm maintained by the training team has been impressive.

The training statistics to date for 2016 are as follows (September) :

Project sites15
Training workshops delivered53
Staff trained242
Staff trained (cumulative)943
Children represented by staff2,535
Children in foster care637

The national roll-out phase is well under way in Thailand, and there has been clear visible progress to celebrate. We are currently in the middle of preparations for our national meeting, which is to take place in Chiang Mai in November this year. At this event, we will honour the achievements of the 15 CWHs that have completed Level 1 training, look back on the progress we have made in partnership with the government CWHs, and commend the efforts of their staff and foster families that change the lives of many Thai children. We will also use this opportunity to welcome five new CWHs into the project.

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