Why do Compassion centres close?

You started sponsoring little Jessica three years ago. You picked her because of her mischievous grin and her pigtails. You’ve been writing letters back and forth and are slowly starting to feel like you’re getting a glimpse into her world and what her daily life is like. You’re praying for her, and you find you’ve grown quite attached.

Then you find out that her child development centre has closed, and suddenly this relationship you’ve begun to build comes to an abrupt end.

Naturally, you want more information, but are left with the little that you got through the last communication.

We partner with more than 6,900 churches worldwide to implement our sponsorship program. And in fiscal year 2015, 175 centres closed.

The number of child development centres that close each year varies. They close for a variety of reasons, and each case is different.

  • A centre might close because of unresolved financial integrity issues.
  • A centre might close because the church partner is having difficulty maintaining the staff and volunteers needed to successfully implement the program and no longer wants to continue the program.
  • A centre might close because the church leadership and the centre’s staff have relationship conflicts.
  • Or, on the positive side, a centre may close because the church partner no longer needs assistance from Compassion.

If in the future the church would like to engage in another partnership with Compassion, they can, but they would need to follow the process of opening a new centre at their church.

Compassion’s Partnership Facilitators, the direct link between our Country Offices and our centres, visit the centres regularly to ensure they are running properly.

If the Partnership Facilitators encounter problems at a centre, they work with the centre staff and the Country Office to resolve the issues. They visit the centre to work on development plans to help resolve the issues. They meet with the pastor and the leadership of the church.

If necessary, the Country Director will meet with the pastor or even with the president of the church’s denomination.

Sometimes, however, the issues persist, in which case the centre will be put on suspension. In some cases, if the problems remain unresolved, the situation may end with the closure of the centre.

Not all closures follow this process. Sometimes a church will decide to end our partnership without going through the suspension process, or vice versa, depending on the circumstances in that particular case.

If a centre is closed, the Country Office notifies the Global Ministry Centre in the US as soon as possible. The closure is processed within seven days and is communicated to the Global Partners so we can share the news with you.

But we want to ensure that children can continue to benefit from our program, so the Country Office will try to transfer as many sponsored children as they can to another nearby centre. If this is not possible, the children are “departed” from the program.

We want you to know that we do all we can to ensure that our programs are implemented with the utmost integrity, while working to resolve issues or transfer children to nearby centres whenever we can. But we also know that it is never easy to hear that a little one you have been praying and caring for is no longer part of our program. If you find yourself in this situation and would like to talk to someone about it, our contact centre would love to hear from you. You can call us at 1-800-563-5437 or email us at info@compassion.ca.

A version of this article was originally posted in 2010 on blog.compassion.com. 

Written by: Compassion Canada