About Children at Risk
Around the world, there are 1.2 billion children at risk. The Red Card study defines “children” as those under the age of 18. In many developing countries, this age group represents 50% of the population. Children at risk lack basic necessities like food, clothing, shelter, safety, parental support, healthcare, and education needed for normal childhood development. They are at risk of never reaching their God-given potential physically, socially, emotionally, and mentally. These vulnerable children go to extreme measures to meet these basic needs and are at risk of being exploited. Although there are many categories of children at risk, the Red Card study has chosen to focus on the following six groups:
• children in poverty
• orphans in institutions
• street kids
• child laborers
• children of war (child soldiers, refugees, and landmine victims)
• children affected by HIV/AIDS
Many children fit into more than one of these categories. A child in extreme poverty may work on the street to gain money for his family or be sold into bonded labor to pay off family debts. A child whose parents die of AIDS becomes an orphan.
God is not silent about these children. His care, compassion, and protection for them are seen throughout Scripture. God’s Word is clear that those who exploit the weak and needy will incur God’s judgment (Isaiah 10:1-2; Amos 2:6-7). However, those who minister to them are described as practicing religion that is “pure and faultless” (James 1:27). God has called and equipped the Church, his body on earth, to minister to children at risk by bringing them the hope of transformed lives.