FAQs

Child Sponsorship FAQs

Which children does ChildFund help?

ChildFund Australia and ChildFund Alliance development programs respond to the needs of children and their communities. The sponsorship program enables local agencies and community groups to identify the children and families most in need of assistance. ChildFund national offices, staffed with highly qualified local people, regularly evaluate the programs, double check family circumstances and offer guidance and training to local volunteers in the communities. The emphasis is on providing self-help and opportunities to communities, while also nurturing the health and nutrition of children, as well as improving the skills that will equip them for happy and productive adult lives.

How are the sponsorship funds used?

As the future of children is ultimately linked to the situation in their community, ChildFund Australia sponsorship contributions ($47 monthly) are pooled with funds from other sponsors to help meet the individual and group needs of all children in the program and to benefit the entire community. Children awaiting sponsorship are also recipients of the care ChildFund provides. We operate in this way to help as many children and their families as possible but it also means that if a sponsor cancels or can’t make a payment, individual children are not affected.

Sponsorship contributions help provide food, healthcare, safe drinking water, education and income generation skills for the child, family and community.

Active community participation and empowerment is encouraged within ChildFund project areas. Although children are at the centre of the locally developed initiatives, the emphasis is on encouraging self-help by providing families and communities with the means to reshape their future.

How long does the child sponsorship program last?

Most children will be sponsored until they are 18 years old, unless they are still completing education or are actively engaged in ChildFund program activities. Many youth will be involved in skills training, mentoring and helping with the younger sponsored children. In this case, their sponsorship will remain active until they are 24 years old. Children may also leave the sponsorship program earlier for other reasons, for example if their family moves to improve their economic situation, or if the family’s situation improves so significantly they no longer require support.

Your sponsored child’s community may also progress to a point where they become self-supporting and no longer require help from ChildFund Australia. This is the ultimate goal for ChildFund and demonstrates that your sponsorship has truly helped to benefit your sponsored child and their entire community.

If there is a change to your sponsored child or their community’s circumstances, we will notify you as soon as possible and hope that you will continue the sponsorship with another needy child. We also understand financial circumstances change for sponsors as well, so we ask sponsors to contact us immediately if they are struggling to meet their monthly sponsorship payments.

Why isn't it possible to sponsor a child in some countries?

ChildFund Australia is a member of ChildFund Alliance - a global network of 12 organisations which assists more than 15 million children in 58 countries. Due to the large number of developing countries in need of assistance, each member of the ChildFund network carries out fundraising activities for a different set of countries, so that globally we can support as many children in as many regions as possible. As such, Australians can only sponsor children in those countries listed on our website. In addition there are some countries where, due to an instable political environment or recent natural disasters, ChildFund is not able to implement a child sponsorship scheme. Instead, we offer assistance through other methods, such as child centered spaces in displaced persons camps, livelihood and micro-finance initiatives, or emergency aid and assistance.

What do I receive when I sponsor a child?

When you become a ChildFund supporter you will receive a sponsorship welcome pack containing:

  • A photo and profile of your sponsored child
  • An outline of your child’s community and the programs being funded through sponsorship
  • A ChildFund sponsorship handbook 
  • Childworld: ChildFund Australia’s newsletter

Do I have to donate each month to sponsor a child?

It is not possible to meet the needs of a sponsored child and their community without sponsoring on a regular basis. Most sponsors pay on a monthly basis. If you prefer to pay annually or quarterly, please contact Supporter Relations on 1800 023 600.

Can a group sponsor a child?

Yes, many ChildFund Australia sponsors are community groups, businesses, organisations and schools. However, we recommend that your group chooses a contact person to write to your sponsored child as this will prevent any confusion. 

What are my payment options?

Child sponsorship costs $47 a month. That's little more than $1.50 a day to build a real future for a child. There are several payment methods you can use. If you are able to pay by credit card, this would be greatly appreciated as it reduces ChildFund's administration costs.

  • Credit card payments can be made online  using the form above
  • To pay by monthly direct debit from your bank, please call Supporter Relations on 1800 023 600 with your account details to hand.

All sponsorship donations over $2 are tax-deductible and GST-free. You will receive an annual contribution summary each July for taxation purposes. Gifts - for birthdays and Christmas - are not tax-deductible.

 

How do I monitor my child's progress?

Throughout the year, you should receive at least 2 letters from your sponsored child, or someone on their behalf if they are unable to write, as well as an annual child progress report with an update on your sponsored child and the ChildFund program's activities. This will provide you with detailed information about your sponsored child's development, living circumstances and educational progress. Additional correspondence between you and your sponsored child will also give you an idea of your sponsored child's hobbies, interests, schoolwork and dreams for the future.

If you would like additional information about your sponsored child, please write to the relevant national office and they will answer your questions in as much detail as possible. Contact details for the national office are included on the back page of your child profile. For more specific information about ChildFund programs in your child's community, please refer to the information inside your child profile.

How can I communicate with my sponsored child?

We strongly encourage sponsors to communicate with their sponsored children. It builds friendships, self-esteem and basic literacy for children, and keeps you in touch with their lives and progress.  Please click here for all the information you need to get started.

 

Can I visit my sponsored child?

Many supporters describe visiting their sponsored child and their community as one of the most enriching and memorable experiences of their life. It also provides you with the unique opportunity to see first-hand the enormous difference that your sponsorship contributions are making in your sponsored child’s community. ChildFund Australia can arrange for you to meet your sponsored child and family in their village. Please email visits@childfund.org.au or call Supporter Relations on 1800 023 600 at least three months ahead of your planned departure date so arrangements can be made and a police check conducted. A National Office representative will accompany you during your visit. You will be required to cover expenses incurred by yourself, your sponsored child and the national office representative as part of the visit. Learn more about visiting your sponsored child. 

Can I contact my sponsored child via Facebook?

Social messaging sites are not always safe environments in which to communicate. For children in particular, the dangers are heightened, as ChildFund is unable to monitor online communications. Social media can leave children vulnerable to the following scenarios:

  • Contact from an individual who claims to be the child’s sponsor, but who is unknown to the organisation and with whom the child has no relationship.
  • Communications, content and images which are inappropriate for a child to read or view, and which may also offend their cultural, religious or ethnic sensibilities. Ultimately, there are few parents who would allow their own child to have online communication with an adult whose identity they are unable to verify. Ensuring the safety and protection of all children living in the communities where we work is of paramount importance to ChildFund, and unfortunately social media sites pose too many risks to children, which we feel negate the benefit of using them for child-sponsor communications.

 

Risk for sponsors:

Using social networking sites can also leave our supporters vulnerable to criminal or unlawful activities by people acting under an alias. For example, an individual who knows your sponsored child may create a false name using that child’s identity, and attempt to defraud or threaten you as the sponsor of that child.

 

How to contact your child

To ensure the continued safety of communications between sponsored children and ChildFund supporters, we ask everyone to ensure that their correspondence is sent via the relevant ChildFund national office without exception. This ensures that ChildFund can monitor any communications to ensure that both the sponsor and sponsored child are protected from inappropriate content, abuse and any fraudulent activities.

 

ChildFund Australia policy

As an organisation, it is impossible for us to guarantee the safety of both parties on social networking sites. As such, ChildFund will take any unauthorised contact very seriously. Where a sponsor initiates any contact with their sponsored child within an online environment, they will be asked to cease this form of communication, and reminded that correspondence must go via our national offices. In cases where the unauthorised communication continues, ChildFund may have to resort to cancelling the sponsorship. In instances where a child or their family initiates contact, we will also remind them of correct communication arrangements, and potentially remove the child/family from enrolment if they ignore this request. We hope that you understand our concerns, and support our efforts to keep communications for both parties safe, secure and unexposed to the dangers of outside interference by unknown persons. We are sure you will understand that ChildFund has to act on any matters that might put either sponsors or sponsored children in danger.

What is ChildFund Australia?

Jose Angel, Mexico

ChildFund Australia is an independent and non-religious international development organisation that works to reduce or eliminate poverty for children in the developing world. Using a child sponsorship approach, as well as public donations and government grants, ChildFund Australia directly implements programs in Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, Cambodia and Laos, and manages projects delivered by ChildFund Alliance affiliate organisations in Asia, Africa and the Americas.

ChildFund Australia is a member of ChildFund Alliance - a global network of 12 organisations which assists more than 15 million children in 55 countries. ChildFund Australia is a registered charity and is fully accredited by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Is ChildFund Australia affiliated to religious or other organisations?

ChildFund Australia is not affiliated with any religion, faith or other organisation. ChildFund Australia is a non-discriminatory, independent, not-for-profit organisation, assisting children, families and communities regardless of nationality, gender or religion. We respect the cultures and religions of all the people we help, encouraging spiritual growth only within the context of family and culture, and we do not evangelise.

ChildFund was established in 1938 as the China's Children Fund. As recognition of a growing worldwide focus, to reflect the ethic of helping others and to keep the acronym (CCF), the official name changed to Christian Children's Fund in 1951. The name was then shortened to CCF Australia before the change to ChildFund Australia in October 2005.

How accountable is ChildFund Australia?

ChildFund Australia is a member of the Australia Council for International Development (ACFID) and a signatory to the ACFID Code of Conduct. The Code requires members to meet high standards of corporate governance, public accountability and financial management. As evidence of this accountability, ChildFund Australia is accredited by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to receive government grants. This accounts for around 10 per cent of ChildFund Australia's revenue.

How is this accountability measured?

Systems of community involvement and participation, finance and administration and results documentation and evaluation ensure ChildFund Australia's quality and accountability. The Annual Impact Monitoring and Evaluation System (AIMES) measures the impact of programs and allows ChildFund Australia to prioritise the delivery of critical services to children and their families.

The key impact indicators are:

  • reduced under-five and infant mortality;
  • reduced under-five malnutrition; and
  • enhanced child and adult literacy.

Is ChildFund Australia audited?

The financial accounts of ChildFund Australia are independently audited on an annual basis by accounting firm KPMG. This process includes auditing the financial accounts of our country offices in Vietnam, Papua New Guinea and Cambodia (Laos will also commence shortly).

How can I get in touch with ChildFund Australia?

If you have any queries about our work or child sponsorship, please feel free to phone, fax or email us. ChildFund Australia's contact details are as follows:

Address: Level 8, 162 Goulburn Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010
ACN: 002 885 761
ABN: 79 002 885 761

If you are already a ChildFund supporter, please have your A00-reference number ready when you contact us.

Does ChildFund Australia have a refund policy?

Any request for refund of contributions already donated to ChildFund Australia by a sponsor/donor will be considered and determined on a case by case basis. Refunds will be made by cheque only.

When a request for a refund is received, an assessment of the reason given for the refund request is undertaken. The following reasons will usually be considered favourably:

  • an error has been made by ChildFund Australia;
  • a sponsor/donor decides within the first 1-3 weeks of providing contributions that they have changed their mind and the funds have not already been remitted overseas;
  • a sponsor/donor banking details are fraudulently obtained and used;
  • the sponsor disputes agreeing to allocation of an additional child through ChildFund Australia marketing programs; or
  • a sponsor/donor contributions are paid in advance.

The following reasons will not usually be grounds for a refund to be given:

  • the financial circumstances of the sponsor/donor;
  • the sponsor/donor denies or disputes having made a decision with ChildFund or one of its contracted marketing agencies to provide financial contributions; or
  • disagreement by the sponsor/donor with the nature of the programs provided by ChildFund.

If it is agreed that a refund is to be made the sponsor/donor will be sent a cheque within five working days of the decision.

How does ChildFund choose communities to work with?

ChildFund Australia understands that poverty is a complex problem that needs to be addressed with full community support. ChildFund Australia assesses where its aid is able to flow without political, religious or bureaucratic obstacles and liaises with government and community members to assess where needs are the greatest. ChildFund Australia, in partnership with our ChildFund Alliance affiliates, then creates programs in consultation with community leaders to provide practical assistance to children, families and impoverished communities.

How long do programs last?

ChildFund Australia's program work is carefully planned with targets and goals to be achieved within set timeframes. Depending on the size and scale of the program, work can run from a number of months to many years. As ChildFund Australia is accredited by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), all of our programs are audited to ascertain that funds are used to their maximum potential.

Are donations tax-deductible?

Child sponsorship, Project Humanity and other donations over $2 are tax-deductible and GST free. You will receive an annual contribution summary each July for taxation purposes.

What happens when too much money is raised through an appeal?

Funds raised in excess of an appeal target set by ChildFund Australia will be directed to other ChildFund projects in need of funding.

What is Project Humanity?

To complement the locally initiated sustainable development projects, which are part of the child sponsorship program, ChildFund Australia, in partnership with ChildFund Alliance affiliates, uses other donations and government grants to help increase the impact of these projects and to develop more specific projects. Project Humanity initiatives enable us to provide solutions to challenges confronting many struggling communities, such as water, health, education and food.

Project Humanity also assists developing communities in the wake of natural disasters, such as flooding, drought, famine and civil unrest, by providing support such as temporary shelter, food aid and emotional support.

Does ChildFund Australia need volunteers?

ChildFund Australia does not normally provide employment for volunteer workers in its overseas programs, preferring to fill positions in national offices with local staff to promote the cultural appropriateness of the programs. There are some opportunities for volunteer staff in the Sydney headquarters.