Open Gate International (OGI) are an NGO which developed a Child Welfare Division aiming to bring multi-systemic training and collaboration with government professionals, NGO professionals and frontline primary caregivers.
Leonie is the Director of OGI Child Welfare (OGICW) focussing on bringing evidence-based, child-centric, trauma-informed frontline care. Currently, her work is focussed within Eastern Europe, specifically in Moldova, Romania and Belarus.
By working alongside local NGO’s and working in partnership with Governmental agencies - Romania has made positive advances in De-institutionalisation strategies; which is the systemic removal of orphaned and displaced children out from institutional settings and into community based family style homes.
The joint collaboration of ARFO - headed up by our friend, Pastor Alex Ilie have helped bring policy reforms to key decision makers within their national government.
Romania now acknowledges that residential living is the least appropriate environment for child rearing, and has recently passed a law preventing babies & children under the age of 5 from being placed out side of parental care.
While this policy is ideal for the child - and should continue to be upheld - practically it places huge pressure on welfare agencies to find trained and safe fosters families to take in these children.
This is why the local Church is one of the solutions to assist with emergency child placement & foster/adoption recruitment. (James 1:27).
Open Gate International are thrilled to journey along side ARFO as they continue to share their training and recruitment experiences with other Eastern European nations. Who desire to see their own countries exist without orphans.
Continued prayers for ARFO & Pastor Alex as they continue in their challenging work.”
For the past two years as the Director of OGICW, Leonie has developed close working relationships with national child welfare agencies and the Municipal Department for Child Protection in Chisinau, Moldova’s capital city.
After listening to national directives, OGI sponsored and pioneered professional service training opportunities for child welfare staff. The aim is to increase academic & professional skills to Moldovan workers and to help widen opportunities for orphaned children to have access to specialist care.
Under Leonie's leadership, OGI sponsored and provided professional training for Moldovan staff who are already working within child therapeutic services. By the end of 2020 her and the team had successfully provided Moldova with their very first EMDR & TBRI accredited trauma therapists.
Leonie also helped to pioneer and support the Alliance of Christians for a Moldova without Orphans (ACMO).
ACMO is formed from various NGOs who were previously working separately within Moldova, to formulate a national movement for orphans. In 2019 - the first year of being formed - 335 people came together for training!
To date, Leonie and her team hold bi-weekly (COVID secure) online training for Moldovan government staff, state registered foster parents and local NGO’s. They continue to provide needed trauma-informed education for policy makers & frontline carers.
(Here you can see a TBRI training day in COVID fashion, with Moldovan Government Dept of Child Protection!)
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