Bright Future Transitional Home (BFTH) is a registered community based organization in Mbarara, Uganda which provides emergency care and family resettlement services for orphans and other vulnerable children (OVC’s) who have been rescued by the Probation and Social Welfare Officers and the Children and Family Protection Unit (CFPU) of the police.
Since BFTH began operations in November 2014, it has provided emergency care to 70 vulnerable children. This has included orphans who had no one to take care of them, abandoned children, children who had escaped from child traffickers and children whom the police had rescued from the streets. Of the 34 children who have come through BFTH doors, 15 remain and the rest have been resettled with biological relatives. Efforts to resettle the children currently still in the home with relatives have proven futile and the organization now seeks foster and adoptive parents for the children.
BFTH is currently the only organization in Mbarara and among a few in Uganda which engages in efforts to resettle vulnerable children into families. BFTH’s operations are based on the United Nations’ Guidelines for Alternative Care for Children which were endorsed at the UN General Assembly 64th Session held on 24 February 2010. BFTH’s mission to find a family for every child is in line with UN’s mission “to support efforts to keep children in, or return them to, the care of their family or, failing this, to find another appropriate and permanent solution, including adoption“.
BFTH believes that the family is “the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for growth, well-being and protection of children” as outlined in the UN guidelines for alternative care. We believe that long-term institutionalization has adverse effects on the physical, emotional and psychological well-being of a child and therefore works to minimize the institutionalization of children.
During BFTH’s five months (Oct 2014-February 2015) of operations, it has had the following accomplishments:
- Received and provided emergency care for 28 children received from CFPU and 6 children received from the probation officers
- Carried out investigations with CFPU in Mbarara, Isingiro, Biharwe, Rubindi, Ibanda, Kazo, Bushenyi, and Kabuyanda in efforts to resettle children with families
- Successfully resettled children with their relatives in Kazo, Mbarara, Kabuyanda, Bushenyi and Kampala
- Provided financial support for some of those relatives to enable them feed, educate and care for the children
- Enrolled school-aged children whom we have failed to resettle in good schools
- Prompted church leaders at All Saints Cathedral, St. James Cathedral Ruharo and Nyamitanga Cathedral to encourage their congregations to foster and adopt children
- Solicited and obtained laptop donations to support documentation and record keeping for the CFPU and Probation officers
- Increased community sensitization on the plight of vulnerable children and increased communities’ awareness of the Alternative Care Framework through mass media and by prompting the Alternative Care Coordinator from the MGLSD to speak at the Rotary Club of Mbarara
- Published an article on Alternative Care Options to be featured in the Rotary Magazine on February 28th 2015
- Enrolled the organization’s management staff in the Professional Certificate in Child Protection training course at Makerere University
- Written proposals to media houses such as TV West and Crooze FM encouraging them to incorporate Alternative Care Framework community sensitization programs in their corporate social responsibility efforts
Besides the above accomplishments, the organization is working on the following:
- Devising programs that will encourage Ugandans to foster and adopt vulnerable children and orphans, in partnership with Crooze FM
- Devising programs that will discourage and reduce child abandonment, such as family planning services and provision of income generating skills and capital for vulnerable caregivers
BFTH works with the following government officials:
- Sergeant Eugene Magezi- O/C Children and Family Protection Unit, CFPU – Mbarara Police
- Mr. Tumwine- Senior Probation and Welfare Officer for Mbarara District
- Mr. Francis Katungye- Probation and Welfare Officer for Mbarara District
To learn more about Alternative Care Options for Vulnerable Children, please follow the links below:
- Alternative Care Framework Uganda
- National Strategic Programme Plan of interventions for orphans and other vulnerable children 2011/12- 2015/16
- Chapter 59 of the Children’s Act (to learn more about fostering and adopting Ugandan children)