Children Need Families
As a project of Operation Underground Railroad, CNF is committed to efforts that benefit at-risk children and youth across the globe. Those efforts include adoption grants, collaborations and outreach.

What Is Children Need Families?

Children Need Families (CNF) is a preventative project of Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) committed to adoption initiatives that benefit at-risk children across the globe. O.U.R. recognizes that healthy adoptions can be a step toward the prevention of child exploitation. While CNF is not an adoption agency, the primary mission of CNF is to assist adoptive families already in the adoption process by offering a financial grant. Children Need Families envisions a world where orphanages are empty and homes are filled.

Our Impact


Families Assisted


Children Funded


Grants Awarded

A letter from Katherine Ballard,
Founder of Children Need Families

When my husband Tim and I were adopting our two children from Haiti, we experienced first-hand all the forms, government approvals, legal fees, time, and patience it took to finally bring them home. It was a frustratingly long, confusing, and expensive journey. I wanted my kids safe in my home, but there was nothing our family could do but go through the process, pray, and wait. We were fortunate to have generous family and friends that helped us financially and gave overall general support. It is because of this experience that the project Children Need Families (CNF) was born. I felt that something should, and could, be done to help other families through the long (up to three years in many cases--like ours) and difficult process of adoption.

As you know, Tim and I have some experience with non-profit organizations. Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), which we founded in 2013, exists to rescue children from sex trafficking and sexual exploitation. Statistics from law enforcement teach us that children that live outside the structure of a family are at risk for exploitation and/or trafficking. Children need families! It was therefore a natural step for CNF to become a special project, a preventative project, of O.U.R.: every child who is safe from trafficking in the structure of a family is a child not praying for rescue from trafficking.

CNF is committed to efforts that benefit at-risk children and youth across the globe through adoption grants, collaborations, and outreach. There is a lot we hope to change about the process of adoption and we are working with governments and other organizations around the world to do so. While we work for those miracles to happen, we strive to lighten at least one part of the load--the financial burden that weighs heavily on so many families--through grants to qualified applicants. To date, we’ve assisted over 100 families and over 200 children in the adoption process, and we look forward to helping many, many more. We envision a word where orphanages are empty and homes are full.

Our family’s wait was long. The process was difficult. But it was worth every form, every penny, and every tear. Not only do Tim and I and their seven siblings adore our beautiful children and receive their pure love in return, but they are now protected from human trafficking and sexual exploitation by the structure of a family who cares for them. We pray for this outcome for all children who need families, and for the families waiting to love and care for them.

Katherine Ballard

Adoption Stories

Hear directly from the families who have experienced adoption.
Read their stories below.