Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Essentials

Surveying Best Practices, Critical Themes, and
the Church’s Role in Service to Vulnerable Children and Families

A 10 week self-pace online course

OVC Essentials is for YOU!

We serve non-profit staff, church staff and lay leaders; foster and adoptive parents; interns and students; advocates for vulnerable children and families and more!

Self-Paced Course Available

Fall Session starts September 7, 2022

Registration open.

Space is limited to the first 40 applicants, register today!

OVC Essentials provides broadened and deepened knowledge of best practices and critical issues within ministry to vulnerable children and families. Alongside a stimulating community of learners, OVC Essentials supplies challenge where necessary and inspiration to continue in faithful service and learning. Non-profit staff and executives, foster and adoptive parents, interns, students and young leaders, church staff and lay leaders, and passionate advocates will find this course to be an informative, accessible, and stimulating experience in their journey towards engaging wisely and effectively with vulnerable children.

Modules Include:

Starting Points: Statistics, Poverty + an Intro to Vulnerable Children

The Priority of Family-Based Care

Trauma and Attachment

Resilience and Strategies for Healing


U.S. Foster Care

The Local Church

Short-Term Missions and Wise Global Engagement

Justice and the Inner Life

The Road From Here

What to Expect

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CAFO Certificate of Completion

Earn a CAFO Certificate of Completion by which CAFO stands behind your commitment to learn, grow in and apply best practices and wisdom-guided.


One-page PDF summary guides

These simple summary guide sheets will help you review what you learned in each section of the module.



Dynamic, relevant, and inspiring teaching from leading practitioners

Each module includes a recorded session with some of the best ministry practitioners on various aspects of effective Orphan and Vulnerable Children (OVC)-based topics.



Weekly discussion posts with our OVC Essentials Facilitator

You’ll have ongoing opportunities for active discussion with any fellow course participants and the course facilitator. You will feel inspired to continue learning and pressing into conversations with those around you.

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This Course is For You!

Students and interns. Church Ministry Leaders. Parents. Pastors. Executives. Child Advocates. Non-profit Staff.

“To say that I learned a lot through this course is probably the understatement of the year. To say I was deeply and permanently changed is absolutely accurate.” - Course Participant
"Wow! So glad I was a part of this OVC Essentials course! Collaboration, information sharing, best practices and rooting for each other is so critical for those of us working with vulnerable children. This course was another example of how CAFO is modeling and leading this collaborative effort. I leave with a renewed sense of purpose and passion to be bold and continue to strive for progress in our church, community and families...all the while knowing that we are working in God's plan and in his timing." - Course Participant
“I am a better and more whole person because of the material, interviews, group interaction and personal reflection. I am closer to my God because this course showed me what I was missing. I have a stronger drive and better framework for it because of what I have learned.” - Course Participant

There’s No “Prescription” to Ministry

This course will help give you a broad knowledge base to feel that you can enter into service to vulnerable children and communities with confidence, awareness, wisdom and thoughtfulness. You will feel inspired to continue learning and pressing into conversations with those around you. You’ll walk away with new insights and convictions and be empowered as an advocate and a voice for the vulnerable in your community. You’ll gain an affirmed and deepened calling towards children and families, and a renewed sense of hope on this journey of responding to Christ’s invitation to the most vulnerable.