Clark & Jennifer Jensen
Clark and Jennifer founded Global Family in 2007 after working with vulnerable children in the Himalayas of North India for several years. They began by establishing community-based family care for children who had lost biological and extended family. At the time, institutional care (primarily in the form of orphanages) were the predominant form of care for children in South Asia, and many parts of the world. Clark and Jennifer were motivated by the belief that every child deserves a family, and observed the harsh living environments and negative social, psychological, and educational outcomes associated with orphanages and other large children's homes.
Clark and Jennifer started by training volunteer caregivers and placing children in stable, long-term families with small caregiver-child ratios. This represented a significant innovation in childcare, which was dominated by institutional care, paid foster parents, and multiple placement changes throughout a child's life. All caregivers recruited through Global Family commit to serving as a guardian for their child's entire life, not just until they turn 18.
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Their focus was expanded to combatting the growing problem of human trafficking and modern slavery when they moved to Nepal in 2007. Global Family started shelters to provide immediate and holistic care for children who had been exploited. Clark and Jennifer also started prevention efforts in rural areas where girls were targeted, utilizing methods for community- and asset-based development to ensure that programs were effective and would remain sustainable. One kind of prevention consisted of girls clubs, which were established by volunteers who used a curriculum that Global Family developed called Bhitri Sundarta ("Inner Beauty" in Nepali).
Global Family expanded to nine countries, starting prevention, shelter, and family care programs with volunteers and partner organizations. In 2019, we founded St. James Research Centre (SJRC) in Scotland, a learning institute which aims to spread best practices of child care, human trafficking prevention and response, and community-based development. Clark presently serves as the Academic Director of SJRC, and Jennifer is the Executive Director of Global Family internationally. Jennifer also recently served on the White House Public Private Partnership Committee to End Human Trafficking.