New Tool Helps Global Child-Serving Organizations Improve Programs

A new tech-based tool will help OVC-serving organizations assess and then strengthen the quality and results of their programs worldwide.  The “Core Elements Self-Assessment” enables organizations to identify and analyze strengths and areas for growth within their programs, then access recommended tools and guidance to enhance both.  

The field of care for vulnerable children – though always rich in passion and sacrifice – has long lacked agreed-upon program standards.  This often forced organizations to operate without a clear sense of essential program elements or quality criteria.  

In 2019, CAFO’s “Core Elements” project changed that.  Over two years, veteran practitioners, researchers, and organizational leaders came together to blend academic and field knowledge to forge universal guiding standards for the field.  Together, they identified and described 21 essential components of quality programs serving orphaned and vulnerable children and families.  

The Core Elements are not articulated as binding rules or a means for criticism.  Rather, they help child-serving organizations weigh their own programs against clear standards and continuously improve.  While the CAFO community acknowledges the immense challenges and complexity of frontline service, we also press together toward best practice and quality results.

Now, the new Core Elements Self-Assessment makes it easier for organizations to evaluate their programs in light of the Core Elements.  The tool includes a 30-minute online evaluation survey, available in both English and Spanish.  The self-assessment simplifies analysis in 21 specific areas of practice and provides a numerical score for each area. Organizations are also provided a report distilling their self-evaluation, as well as year-to-year trends report based on their scores and other data in the field.    

Results can be used to identify strengths worthy of expansion and also to guide program refining over the year ahead – including significant data that can be communicated to donors, board members and other stakeholders.  Participants will also have access to an array of resources and training opportunities tailored to help them successfully develop each of the 21 Core Elements over the years ahead.  

Lifetime access to the Core Elements Self-Assessment, reports and ongoing training and resources is $399, but is provided at no charge to CAFO member organizations.  

The 21 Core Elements themselves can also be harnessed by:

Advocates:  To provide clear principles of quality programs to share with government officials, policy-makers, media, and organizational leaders. 

Church leaders:  By encouraging partner organizations to participate in the annual self-assessment, churches can help the organizations continuously improve their services to children and families.

Donors: Donors can use the principles of the Core Elements to better understand programs they support, and also help in the decision making process when choosing how to best focus investments. 

We are all on a journey to better care for vulnerable children and family — together!


Hear from OVC leaders around the world how the Core Elements has made a difference for them: