The phenomenon of preventable child-family separation is as old as time. Societal approaches to children at risk of losing parental care are largely informed by cultural beliefs and habits. Faith-based perspectives and responses are—and have always been—an important part of this equation. Christian faith communities have responded to child-family separation in various ways throughout history, contributing to both the propagation and prevention of child-family separation across time and contexts, including during American slavery (trafficking), through interactions with Indigenous communities and the establishment of residential boarding schools, the development and use of orphanages and institutional care worldwide, and in response to refugee and migrant movements.
During this webinar, participants explored the theological dimensions of child-family separation. Is there a theology of the child within the Christian faith? How has the care and protection of children been understood within Catholic social teaching? How have these interpretations interacted with growing evidence about the effects of child-family separation on developmental outcomes across the life course and with the field of child rights?
The forum on Faith and the Family: Propagating and Preventing Child-Family Separation across Time and Context is convened by Catholic Relief Services and Georgetown University’s Collaborative on Global Children’s Issues, in coordination with the Changing the Way We Care initiative and strategic partners.