Child Sponsorship Fact Sheet

U.S. Media Contacts:

Tim Glenn (719) 272-5377 and Allison Wilburn (219) 384-8177

For all non-media related inquiries, please call (800) 336-7676, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. MT.

What is it?

Compassion’s Child Sponsorship Program works to break the generational cycle of poverty through a long-term, whole-child approach to development.

A mother stands in the doorway of her home with her two children

The Child Sponsorship Program allows a sponsor to invest in the life of a child (aged 3-22 years) through a $43 monthly commitment that provides that child with physical, social, spiritual and economic care and training.

In this one-to-one relationship, sponsors are encouraged to write letters to their children, filling their minds and spirits with love, support and hope so that they can be further encouraged to defeat poverty and pursue their dreams.

Compassion has grown exponentially over the last two decades. In 1993, approximately 180,000 children were sponsored through Compassion in more than 2,000 child development centers and 21 countries.

Today, more than 2.2 million children are receiving care through Compassion in more than 8,000 frontline churches worldwide.

Our Strategy

The Child Sponsorship Program is at the core of Compassion’s holistic child development model and is delivered at child development centers, which are administered by thousands of indigenous church partners. The program provides individualized attention to each child and focuses on four areas of child development:

A girl receiving a health exam by a medical professional

The health of each Compassion-registered child is monitored, and regular checkups are provided.

Children with health issues have access to medical programs and food. Program workers teach children about basic health, hygiene and nutrition principles that prevent diseases.

Children learning in school while sitting at their desks

A key goal for sponsored children is to ensure they complete a basic formal primary education as defined in their local context. Subsequently, children participate in continued learning that is most appropriate for their desires and situation. These include formal secondary school, vocational school, apprenticeship or an income generating skill training.

Every child, aged 12 and older, also completes a life-planning document that helps him/her think ahead and identify individualized developmental needs and path.

Two friends sitting back to back on a wood bench

Compassion’s child development centers are safe places where children can develop critical social skills in a protected environment.

Through teamwork, service activities, mentoring, sports competitions and youth camps, sponsored children are taught how to manage their emotions and communications, make wise choices about behavior, influence the behavior of others, and maintain good relationships.

A young boy praying in school

Compassion accepts and serves children of all faith backgrounds and does not require conversion to Christianity. Sponsored children are introduced to Christian teachings and nurtured in their personal faith journeys by staff and volunteers of the local church.

They are encouraged to live according to biblical principles and to practice the spiritual disciplines of prayers, Bible study, worship and service.

Does Compassion Child Sponsorship Really Work?

In 2008, Dr. Bruce Wydick, a professor of economics and international studies at the University of San Francisco, along with two colleagues, conducted research on Compassion’s Child Sponsorship Program to determine its impact on the adult life outcomes of formerly sponsored children against those of children who were not part of the program.

Their research found that Compassion sponsored children:

  • Stayed in school 1 to 1.5 years longer than their non-sponsored peers
  • Were 27-40 percent more likely to finish secondary education and 50-80 percent more likely to complete a university education
  • Were 14-18 percent more likely to have salaried employment and roughly 35 percent more likely to secure white-collar employment
  • Were 30-75 percent more likely to become community leaders, 40-70 percent more likely to become church leaders, and 63 percent more likely to become a teacher1
  • Had higher levels of happiness, optimism, self-efficacy and hope than their non-sponsored peers.