Millions of children worldwide are living in orphanages, deprived of their right to family life.
Institutional life damages children, yet it is still supported by many. We call on those in the following groups to stop supporting orphanages:
Please support projects that ensure children can develop to their full potential and enjoy their right to family life. Family support to prevent separation, reunification, kinship-care, fostering and adoption - these should all be used in preference to orphanages.
A child may be looked after very well physically in an orphanage (though many are not), but it is not the same life as living in a family. When asked, children in orphanages simply want to live a normal life, in a family like other kids. No child wants to be labelled for life as an orphanage kid.
A lot of studies show the harm done by placing children in orphanages. Family life is a child rights issue as well, but the simple truth is that an orphanage is no place for a child. Many people who have built, volunteered at or who have managed an orphanage are the strongest advocates against using orphanages as a form of childcare.
Many well-meaning people who support orphanages love and draw strength from their own families and their own children, and yet unwittingly they support a system that separates other children from their families.
We usually find that 80% of the children in orphanages have parents, aunts, uncles or grandparents who they could live with, with a little bit of support. It is a lot cheaper to support a child at home with their family than in an orphanage.
An orphanage may seem like a nicely boxed solution to child poverty, but it fails on two counts. First, most of the children placed in orphanages are not orphans. Secondly, an orphanage is not a solution, it just prolongs the problem.