Frequently Asked Questions

Will I Hear From My Sponsored Child?

Yes, your sponsored child will initiate correspondence with you. You will receive an introductory letter 6-8 weeks after you begin your sponsorship. Once you receive that letter, that is the perfect time to begin writing back. Your sponsored child will always respond to your letters.

How Much Money Will My Child Receive?

Your gifts do not go directly to your sponsored child but are used by the Prison Fellowship program stay in their country to provide essential support. A dedicated Christian caseworker will ensure your child receives or has access to safe shelter, nutritious food, medical care, and education, and opportunities to participate in events and activities that increase self-esteem, build hope, and improve interpersonal relationships. Prison Fellowship International strives to adhere to acceptable financial fundraising practices and is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).

For more information and financial reports, please visit pfintl.wpengine.com/financials.

How Long Will My Sponsorship Last?

Your constant support and love are essential to your sponsored child’s growth and development. Prison Fellowship International sponsors are not required to sponsor a child for any set length of time. Because the child’s needs continue after their parent is released from prison, we ask that sponsors continue their support so we can help the family adjust.

What Happens If I Have to End My Sponsorship?

If you end your sponsorship, we make it a priority to match your child with a new sponsor. Although the child remains in our program, they may receive fewer benefits until a new sponsor is found.

Can I Send Gifts to My Child?

We currently do not accept gift packages, as the processing is expensive and time consuming. We strive to maximize the program services we deliver to your child and minimize any wasted resources. You are welcome to send a special monetary gift to your child, in addition to your regular sponsorship support. Sponsors often enjoy doing this for Christmas or birthdays. Our trained caseworkers work closely with the family to assess the best use of the gift to improve their conditions. Within 120 days, you will receive a short report and photo on how the gift was used. In order to maximize effectiveness of special monetary gifts and account for high transportation costs, we have set a $75 minimum gift amount.

To make a gift today, please mail a check to our office (include child ID number in the check memo) or call us at +1-703-481-0000.

Can I Send Money Directly To My Sponsored Child?

PFI requests that monetary gifts not be sent directly to your sponsored child. There are several reasons for this.

Our national offices are not equipped to handle funds sent to them directly from sponsors, or to issue tax-exempt receipts. In some countries it is even against the law to have foreign currency in one’s possession. Also, some postal systems are unreliable, and there is no guarantee that the monetary gifts will reach the intended recipient.

May I Visit My Sponsored Child?

Yes! Visiting your sponsored child can be an exciting and moving event for both of you. If you decide you would like to visit your child, please contact our international headquarters no less than three months in advance. Each national ministry has strict child protection policies in place, in accordance with country laws. In an effort to provide the highest degree of child protection, PFI requires background check for all adult visitors (18 and older) who are meeting any beneficiary of a national ministry’s The Child’s Journey Program.

Please contact donorsupport@pfi.org or call 1-703-481-0000 for more information on this process and to register your visit.

What Specific Benefits Does A Child Receive Through Sponsorship?

Your regular support is used to meet the specific needs of your sponsored child. Every dollar is used prayerfully and carefully to help ensure your sponsored child:

  • Lives in safe housing and is protected from harm.
  • Can access education and school supplies, so they obtain the skills necessary for a bright future.
  • Maintains good health through nutritious food and essential medical care.
  • Receives spiritual and social support to help heal wounds caused by rejection and loss, and to help build conferences.
  • Has an opportunity to know and experience the love of Jesus Christ.
  • Has a direct relationship with a caseworker, who makes sure your sponsored child’s urgent need are met and is a loving constant presence in their life.

Your child is also invited to take part in local church and Prison Fellowship events, where beneficial relationships with children and families are build.

What is the Mission of the Program?

The mission of The Child’s Journey is to help children of prisoners overcome the hardships associated with their parents’ incarceration by offering them safety, health, education, and spiritual resources. A major focus of the partnership is also to strengthen the long-term sustainability of national ministry children’s ministry to ensure children can continue to benefit for many years.

What are the Goals of the Program?

The program goals are to ensure the safety, improve the health, advance the education, and build the spiritual resiliency of these children.

How Do I Write to My Sponsored Child?

It means so much to your sponsored child to receive a letter from you. You can send an email or drop a handwritten letter in the mail. Just follow these three easy steps:

  1. Find your child’s name and ID number on the photo card you received and include it in the subject line of your email or write it at the top of your letter. Do not include your own address.
  2. Write an encouraging note to your sponsored child. What should you say? Talk about your family or community or share your favorite Bible verse. Your sponsored child will be delighted if you ask about their friends, family, or favorite activities. Important: Please refer to the Communications Guidelines you received for helpful hints as you write to your sponsored child.
  3. Email your letter to sponsorship@pfi.org or send them to
    Prison Fellowship International
    PO Box 17434
    Washington, DC
    20041
    USA

Write your name and return address on the back flap of the envelope, along with your child’s name and ID number. Our field staff with translate your letter, hand deliver it to your sponsored child, and help the child write back to you. Communicating with your sponsored child is a powerful way to offer hope and build an emotional bond that will mean the world to both of you.

Does Your Program Help Keep Families Together?

Child eligibility criteria encourage caregivers to take an active role in ensuring the safety and health of the children. It is required that the child have a confirmed caregiver, please of residence, and guardian permission to be in the program.

Training is provided to both caregivers and children on health, safety, hygiene, and child rights.

Program staff help facilitate both phone calls and visits to incarcerated parents.

The Child’s Journey provides support for the entire family and helps build stronger family unites by showing caregivers support and encouragement too.

How Long Does PFI Support the Children?

At this time the program continues for sponsored children as long as they need it through the age of 18.

What Happens If Only One Sibling in A Family Is Sponsored?

When one child is sponsored, the entire family benefits through food packs, family visits by the case worker, and being monitored for safety as a family. The entire family is also connected to their local church.

The benefits a single sponsored child received (in addition to the above) include health check-ups, education (school fees, uniforms, supplies), as well as the benefit of building a relationship with a sponsor who cares about them.

Does Prison Fellowship Evangelize the Child?

Prison Fellowship is an organization with Christian values but does not require conversion to Christian beliefs in order for children or their families to receive the help they desperately need. Our organizational motivation is driven by the love of God and we work through the local churches to enhance the work to and with the children. Where appropriate, and if they child wants it, they provide religious counsel and nurturing.

Is It Hard for My Sponsored Child to Find A Church?

Our National Ministries work with local churches to help provide regular monitoring and services to the children and families in the program. Local church leaders are engaged to help lead Bible studies in many of the communities where our children live, and while church attendance is not a mandatory part of the program all caregivers are informed of the Christian roots and principles of the program and those who are working within the program. While church attendance is not mandatory, it is encouraged as part of the program.

Does PFI Remove Children from Situations Where They Live with A Parent in Prison?

While there are cases where children reside in prison with a parent, the issue of children in prison is not extremely widespread despite attention given to it by media. Women in prison make up less than 5% of a prison population, and a very small percentage of these will have children with them. Rarely, if ever, will men have their children with them. Different country systems have different rules on whether children can accompany their parent to prison, and most countries have adopted policies recommended by the UN on this. These situations are so limited, that it is not a major focus of our program reporting. However, in the few situations where we do find children living in prisons with their parents, in unacceptable conditions, our staff works to place children appropriately, or address their immediate needs.

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