ChildFund Korea has been a living history of child welfare of Korea. In the beginning, ChildFund Korea was an infant organization relying on support from CCF. After several decades, it has grown into the oldest yet largest child welfare organization in Korea.
Dependence on aid from the US
ChildFund Korea is based on Christian Children’s Foundation’s branch office in Korea, founded by Dr. Clarke, that specialized in fundraising for refugee relief. While Dr. Clarke was staying in China to help Chinese children, he turned his eyes to Korea, in which the situation was as serious as China’s.
In October 1948, CCF started its first financial support for the Korean office by helping some 400 children in three facilities. While bold child welfare policies were not present in Korea during this period, CCF’s child relief program was remarkable both in qualitative and quantitative ways.
Growing as a leading child welfare organization
While the needs for emergent relief had decreased, the number of children living in welfare facilities had continuously increased. At that time CCF proposed a family-based child welfare project on the basis of the motto “Family is where children belong to.” CCF strived to send children back home if there was someone who could take care of them or they could be adopted or fostered by other families.
This is the time when the Appenzeller Children Center was founded to start one-on-one sponsorship between an American sponsor and a Korean child. In addition, CCF operated its own social welfare centers and supported daycare centres and other local organizations. This was the origin of the “community welfare center” that provides comprehensive support to low income families in their community.
Preparing for independence
After seeing remarkable economic growth of Korea, CCF decided to terminate its support for CCF Korea and move its strategic direction to Africa. CCF gave a 10-year transition period for the CCF Korea branch to become an independent organization. CCF Korea branch spurred donor development to become a private social welfare institution independent from the CCF.
Based on the public desire to create a better living environment for children, CCF Korea branch focused on donor development and fundraising. It received government subsidies for a sponsorship program, matching children with overseas families. It established national and overseas supporter’s associations and collaborated actively with the media. During this period, the Foundation started a project to find missing children.
The CCF branch in Korea promoted the ‘Finding Missing Children Campaign’ in 1983, and the government officially commissioned the project to the Foundation in 1986. In 1986, CCF terminated its support in 1986, leaving behind an illuminating history. They had contributed about $100 million to support more than 100,000 people. Finally, the CCF branch in Korea was reformed as ‘Korean Children’s Foundation’.
Period of expansion of domestic welfare projects
To respond to the growing demands for welfare and to solidify its independence, Korean Children’s Foundation expanded its beneficiary coverage to support child-headed households, the elderly aged 65 and older, children with special needs, etc. Korea Children’s Foundation renamed itself “Korea Welfare Foundation”, in order to reflect the new service targets.
Since 1993, Korea Welfare Foundation has implemented foster care projects, an area the government had not addressed at the time. Moreover, footprints of the Foundation are found in the field of child protection, being involved in revising the child welfare laws and establishing agencies specialized in child protection, for example. The Foundation was actively engaged in finding missing children through live broadcasts and advertisement on cigarette packs.
During this period, the Foundation initiated overseas aid for children. The Foundation started its first overseas projects in three countries-Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos and entered into a new chapter in its history.
Overseas work begins in earnest
As the IMF crisis increased demands for social welfare services, Korea Welfare Foundation enlarged its project scope. For example, social welfare centers of the Foundation began to provide child and family counseling services.
Organizations specializing in elderly care were newly founded, such as the Guro Elder Welfare Center; and organizations for children with special needs, such as Hansarang Home for infants and Hansarang School for rehabilitation.
In addition, eight child protection agencies were established. In 2003, the Foundation expanded ongoing foster care projects to 10 centers, and in 2005, it received an official commission from the Ministry of Health and Welfare and opened the National Center for Missing Children. In order to enlarge its scale for overseas child welfare, the Foundation became a member of the ChildFund Alliance in 2002, providing support to countries such as China, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, and Uganda.
Since 2001, it has provided nutrition support and medical service to people in North Korea.
Toward becoming a leading global child welfare organization
In January 2008 marking its 60th anniversary, the Foundation decided to refocus on child welfare, abiding by the spirit of CCF and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Furthermore, it decided to change its name to “ChildFund Korea.”
In 2009, the Foundation initiated the child violence prevention program, CAP, in order to protect children from violence and abuse; and implemented a campaign to support child victims of sexual abuse; and made a remarkable achievement of passing a law that abolishes the statute of limitations of child sexual offenders.
ChildFund Korea has grown into a leading child welfare organization and we will continue to cooperate with the public and other organizations to build a culture of sharing. Furthermore, we will work to ensure a better living environment for children with our professional fundraising and marketing skills, advocacy activities and enhanced donor services.