I just got a letter saying my sponsored child has left the program. What's going on?

Updated Friday 16 September, 2016

After investing many letters, photos and gifts into a relationship with your sponsored child, it can be devastating if they leave the Child Sponsorship Program before graduating. If your sponsored child's family withdraws them from the program, they will usually write a goodbye letter; however, sometimes this isn't possible. It can take up to three months for us to receive detailed information about their departure to pass on to you.

There are a number of reasons why a child might leave the program, including:

  • The family relocates Just like families here, your child's family might move to a different area to pursue work opportunities, to be closer to other family members, because natural disaster has damaged their home or a myriad other reasons. The family may no longer live close enough to the child development centre for the child to continue to attend the Compassion program.

  • The child enters the workforce One of the goals of our program is to enable each child to complete at least their primary school education and find employment. However, family pressures and perceived opportunities mean that some children leave school and the program early because they have found a job. Sometimes, the job may simply be helping at home or on the farm, but parents feel that this the best option for their family. Local staff would encourage the family to keep their child at school and in the program if at all possible, but ultimately respect the parents' decision.

  • The child leaves home Although our programs aim to release children to simply be children, sometimes their circumstances mean they are forced to enter the adult world prematurely. Their family situation may cause them to run away from home, cultural expectations may cause them to get married, or social circumstances may cause them to enter military service.

  • Religious opposition Some communities are strongly, and even violently, divided by religion. Even when families are in great need, social pressure causes some non-Christian parents to withdraw their child from Compassion programs, which are openly Christian and operated on the premises of our local Church Partners.

  • The family situation improves One of the best reasons for a child leaving the program is because their family no longer needs Compassion's help. Your assistance over the years may have helped the family to become self-sustaining, previously unemployed parents may have found work, or their financial situation may have improved in some other way.

  • Sometimes, despite our love and support, children die from illness or accidents When a sponsored child dies, their families, friends, program staff and sponsors all grieve. The sad reality is that children living in poor communities are more at risk of childhood death.

Sometimes, we do not know the reasons why a child leaves the program. If a child is absent from the program for more than four consecutive weeks, Compassion staff will visit the child's family to find out why, and encourage the family to continue sending their child to the child development centre if possible. If your child has left the program and you would like more information, please contact us.

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