Viva Network Resource Guide-Children

The following resources were taken from Viva Network’s web site. They are a wonderful resource for acquiring information and training to help people work to improve children’s lives, especially, children at risk. Some of the books listed were selected in the Selected Reading section although there is a brief description here that may be helpful. Viva described their organization as follows: We are organizations, church bodies and individuals committed to every child having the opportunity to become all that God intends. We create networks among Christians caring for children, because collaboration brings greater effectiveness. Our work provides vulnerable children with more services of better quality, plus a bigger voice speaking up for their lives.


Bradford, John 1995 Caring for the Whole Child: A Holistic Approach to Spirituality. London: The Children’s Society.

This brief but powerful book divides children’s spirituality into three segments: human, devotional, and practical spirituality. After looking at the integration of these three components, Bradford focuses on how to assist children’s spirituality. Although it emphasizes the Christian perspective, this book attempts to develop a holistic and general framework from which practitioners from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds can draw. Helpful excerpts from international documents, comprehensive appendices, and a reference list make this book an invaluable tool for ministers to at-risk children.

Derbyshire, Marion- 2002 Friends in Need: A Handbook for the Care of Orphans in the Community. Viva Network Publications.

This handbook provides practical advice and examples regarding community-based orphan care. Beginning with background information and the biblical foundations for giving care to orphans, the handbook also describes how to create, support, and evaluate such a program. It is largely based on case studies of three organizations that work with HIV/AIDS orphans in Zimbabwe. Using volunteer workers and networks with other projects, these three organizations provide a wide range of services in a cost-effective and culturally appropriate way.

Haugen, Gary A. 1999 Good News About Injustice: A Witness of Courage in a Hurting World. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

After presenting a heart-wrenching picture of the needs of children and other hurting people around the world, Haugen reminds the reader of the biblical basis for hope in God. He also gives practical tools and insights to investigate, intervene, assist, and advocate for people in need. While it is written from a lawyer’s perspective and seeks to promote the International Justice Mission (of which Haugen is the president), this book also provides helpful information for individuals and churches that desire to serve God by helping people all over the world.

Kilbourn, Phyllis, ed. 1995 Healing the Children of War: A Handbook for Ministry to Children Who Have Suffered Deep Traumas. Monrovia, CA: Marc Publications.

Although it focuses primarily on children who have experienced the traumatic effects of war, this handbook provides many helpful insights about the needs of at-risk children, the effects of abuse and trauma, and long-term care. It also offers many practical suggestions for caregivers, communities, and churches. This book presents children in a respectful, caring, and helpful light, and it seeks to glorify God by ministering to children holistically.

Children in Crisis: A New Commitment. Monrovia, CA: World Vision International.

With chapters by prominent advocates for and missionaries to at-risk children, this book is well-written, informative, and thought-provoking. It includes a section on the different categories of risk, along with the biblical responses for ministry. It examines prayer, spiritual warfare, education, and many other often-neglected aspects of ministry to children at risk. This book is an invaluable resource to those who seek to minister to children at risk.

Street Children: A Guide to Effective Ministry. Monrovia, CA: Marc Publications.

This book presents the physical, social, emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs of street children. The principles presented, however, are applicable to many other contexts for children at risk. Furthermore, this book describes effective program planning, intervention strategies, and self-care in the context of ministering to at-risk children and youth.

Makufa, Syloid Choice 2001 Community Care of Orphans.

The Family AIDS Caring Trust (FACT) of Zimbabwe works with children and families affected by HIV/AIDS. It runs the Families, Orphans and Children Under Stress (FOCUS) program and is affiliated with the Viva Network. This case study of both FACT and FOCUS provides helpful insights into the role of the community and the local church in caring for orphans. Although it is specific to Zimbabwe and the children affected by AIDS that live there, it also presents information that can be helpful and applicable to children in difficult circumstances around the world.

Matshalaga, Neddy Rita and Greg Powell 2002 Bold Support for Alleviation of Poverty and Education May Avert a Social Disaster. BMJ Publishing Group. Online. ProQuest. Accessed May 11, 2004.

This article focuses on the importance of the extended family structure in many African societies. It considers the bi-directional relationships between faith and social identity that the cultures incorporate into their daily lives, and then it looks at the implications for the growing numbers of AIDS orphans around the continent and the world.

Miles, Glenn and Paul Stephenson 2001 Children in Residential Care and Alternatives: Children at Risk Guidelines. Vol. 5. United Kingdom: Tearfund.

This handbook provides principles for good practices with unaccompanied children around the world. It includes theories, ideas, case studies, questions for reflection, and resources. According to the authors, caregivers should focus on alternatives to residential care, including prevention, intervention, and restoration. This handbook is an incredibly valuable tool for evaluating and assisting existing programs.

Miles, Glenn, and Josephine-Joy Wright 2003 Celebrating Children! Carlisle, Cumbria, UK: Paternoster Press.

This invaluable resource provides accurate and up-to-date facts and reports on a large number of the issues facing children at risk and their caregivers. Issues discussed include contextualization, child development, Biblical perspectives about children, policy development, advocacy, current beliefs and trends in the field, holism, self-care for caregivers, networking, and many others. It also provides helpful diagrams, examples, and case studies from many different countries.

Moltmann, Jürgen 2000 Child and Childhood as Metaphors of Hope. Theology Today 56(4):592-603

According to Moltmann, modern-day Christians generally take three perspectives regarding children: that of Christian education, that of the children themselves, and that of “future childhood” (or the way adults remember themselves as children and view “the child in themselves;” cf. :595). The last forms the focus of the article, yielding three related beliefs: the uniqueness of each individual child can build metaphors of hope for the Christian community, which in turn can build metaphors of the hope of God (:603).

Myers, Glen 1988 Children in Crisis. Cumbria, UK: OM Publishing.

A brief prayer digest filled with statistics and specific information for children at risk worldwide, it includes chapters on child labor, street children, and general information. It also has information about sexual exploitation and children who are exploited by war, along with Bible verses that apply to each of these areas. Finally, “Children in Crisis” has a list of resources for personal involvement, prayer, sponsorship, advocacy, and networking.

Peres, Valeria F. 2001 From Crisis to Peace. Growth Through Good Practice. Caring For Children and Foster Parents in Cambodia.

Valeria F. Peres works with the Hagar Project Foster Home Program in Cambodia. This case study, presented as a Cutting Edge Conference Best Practice Paper, highlights the intervention and restoration that takes place through the training, education and assistance developed in the residential program. Not only does the Hagar Project educate and assist children, it also challenges and develops families to serve Christ more effectively.

Spencer, Heather, 2001 Our Family’ A Working Model of Foster Care and Birth Family Support Services, in Russia.”

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is an affiliate of the Viva Network in Russia. This group seeks to promote healthier children through encouraging family-style foster care, accurate assessment, biblical values, and reform of the Russian social service laws. This case study emphasizes indigenous leadership, the role of the community, child participation, education, rehabilitation, and advocacy. These keys to ministry to at-risk children can apply to a variety of ministries to children in many different contexts.

Stephenson, Paul & Glenn Miles Child Development Study Pack. TearFund, UK.

The Child Development Study Pack discusses in detail the Bible’s value of children, along with the responsibility of the Church to care for orphans and other at-risk children. It also gives helpful guidelines for leadership, such as building relationships, the responsibilities of parents, contextualization, prioritization, participation, advocacy, and using child-sensitive indicators. It highlights the necessity of listening to children and allowing them to participate in their own care.

McDonald, Patrick Children at Risk: Networks in Action. Monrovia, MARC Publications.

By the founder and director of the Viva Network, this book discusses many of the topics, statistics, and Biblical perspectives that relate to the study of children at risk. Along with the explanation of why children at risk are the priority for missions, McDonald gives specific examples of children in adverse circumstances, along with those whose lives have been turned around as a result of Christian ministry. He concludes with a well-reasoned argument about the importance of networking.

Dawn, Marva J. 1997 Is It a Lost Cause? Having the Heart of God for the Church’s Children. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

To the question in the title of the book, Marva Dawn would answer an emphatic “no.” She claims that raising children to be Christ-like in this world is not a lost cause “if we wake up” (:6). In addition, she includes admonitions and advice for the Church about how to teach children about God. Although it is written from an almost exclusively Western perspective, this book is helpful in its discussion of the evils and challenges that face the Church today.

Garbarino, James and Claire Bedard 1996 Spiritual Challenges to Children Facing Violent Trauma. Child and Family Behavior Therapy 18(4):467-478.

As the title states, this article focuses on traumatic experiences and the resultant spiritual challenges that children face. It hypothesizes that each human desires a meaningful existence, but trauma can hinder this sense of meaning for children, thereby hindering spiritual growth and faith formation. With helpful examples of children in various countries and cultures, this article considers the religious, social, and spiritual effects of trauma, as well as self-care and intervention strategies for practitioners.

Stephenson, Paul and Sara Glover, 1998 Tearfund Child Development Policy.

This handbook provides detailed biblical and academic information about child development. It explains the purpose and motivation for child development work, along with many of the underlying issues involved. In addition to an enumeration of children’s rights and various resources, this handbook also includes case studies and examples of best practices.

Barna, George 2003 Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions: Why Children Should Be Your Church’s #1 Priority. Ventura, CA: Regal Books from Gospel Light.

The Barna Research Group is well-known for their studies on Christian faith in the United States. This book emphasizes the importance of children to Christianity. Not only do children need Christ, but they are also strategic because most people who choose to follow Christ do so while they are young, and the young have many years of ministry ahead of them.

Raising Children in a Socially Toxic Environment. 1985 San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

This book is a helpful resource in and of itself and in the list of resources and notes at the end. Garbarino is an expert in helping children and families at risk. He guides the reader through a series of easily understood yet deeply meaningful attributes of healthy childhood, family life, and community relationships. Although his approach is purely secular and Western, his findings are applicable to children at risk in other cultures, too.

Myers, Bryant 1999 Walking With the Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development. New York: Orbis.

A senior vice president of World Vision, Bryant Myers presents his expert opinions on development and poverty. He comments on different models of mission, explaining how our perspective of poverty affects the ministry that we engage in. He also presents a biblical perspective of poverty and transformational development. Myers has edited Working With the Poor: New Insights and Learnings from Development Practitioners (1999) and has written many other articles and books.

Derbyshire, Marion 2002 Voice in the Streets. Viva Network.

This Viva Network handbook details the ministry of Steve and Evie Bartel to street children in Bogota, Colombia. It also lists prayer requests that apply to all ministers to children at risk (God’s call, timing & honor, teamwork, respect for the poor, spiritual warfare, and focus on God). After noting several key Bible passages for work with at-risk children, it answers practical questions, offers guidance, discusses attitude and motivation, and explains the four phases of the ministry in Colombia.

Garbarino, James, et al. 1982 Children and Families in the Social Environment. Hawthorne, NY: Aldine de Gruyter.

Based on Urie Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems model of child and family development, this book incorporates a vast number of scientific studies in the areas of education, economics, politics, social and emotional well-being, and a host of other areas related to the positive development of children and families. Garbarino and his associates also examine the macrosystemic, exosystemic, mesosystemic, microsystemic and individual effects on development and make evaluations and recommendations for public policy and private actions. The final chapter of the book emphasizes a prominent theme: simply stated, “the issue is human quality” (:232), not quantity of goods or dollars, amount of education received, or size of family, neighborhood, or community.


Christian, Jayakumar 1999 God of the Empty-Handed: Poverty, Power and the Kingdom of God. Monrovia, CA: MARC.

A perspective from the two-thirds world, this book provides helpful insights about how to engage in ministry in meaningful, contextually appropriate ways. It gives various models of how to view poverty, and evaluates these models in the light of God’s Word.