The U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and Whole Child International formally launched the Protection and Quality of Care for Children project. The project, a $7.4 million investment over five years — $4.9 million from USAID and $2.5 million from Whole Child International — will support the Salvadoran government to further strengthen its capacity to provide care, protection and development for vulnerable children and families.

Speakers included Minister of Foreign Affairs Carlos Castaneda, U.S. Ambassador Jean Manes, ISNA’s President of the Board of Directors Dr. Julio Oscar Roble Ticas, ISNA’s Executive Director Elda Tobar Ortiz, and Whole Child International’s Founder and CEO Karen, Countess Spencer.

“We know that adequate attention to early childhood development has an impact that extends to all facets of personal development, including educational achievement, improved economic productivity, better capacity for long term planning, and more constructive methods of conflict resolution,” said Ambassador Manes.

“We at Whole Child are incredibly proud to be working alongside USAID to address and support the efforts of the government in El Salvador, in our collective goal of improving the quality of care for all vulnerable children across the country,” stated Countess Spencer.

The collaboration involves assessing key aspects of the national child protection system, including social service workforce capacity, case management, the quality of residential care, and how to transition from institutional to family-based care. Assessment results will then be used to refine and implement national policies and practices that improve well-being and safety for children. Through training for care center workers and working directly with families, the project will help ensure that children receive developmental support in safe, nurturing environments.

Whole Child International specializes in relationship-centered care for children – responsive, consistent care that engenders stable attachments and trusting bonds between children and their primary caregivers. We provide training and mentoring and conduct research that supports partners to implement policies and practices that improve quality of care and outcomes for children.