I. EVERY CHILD NEEDS A LOVING FAMILY
There are vulnerable and abandoned children all over the world that are outside of a loving family due to various factors:
Children benefit long-term when in the care of a protective and permanent family.
The results are:
II. WE NEED TO DRIVE POLICY AND LEGISLATIVE CHANGE
One of the biggest problems with helping vulnerable children is identifying and locating them. The estimated number of children in institutions range from 2 million to 8 million. Even this is underestimated because of limited reporting and unreliable data.
Another reason for change:
There are more effective ways to allocate funds for the betterment of children.
It is less expensive for a child to be in family care or community based care.
III. OUR PARTNERSHIPS WILL IMPACT THE WELL-BEING OF CHILDREN
Economic interventions that address poverty can help prevent family-child separation, support children’s reintegration in family care, and improve outcomes for children.
Household Economic Strengthening Strategies
IV. STRENGTHENING FAMILIES TO PREVENT FAMILY SEPARATION
Across the globe, loving parents in desperate times give up their children to institutions in hope of a better future for them. While many parents do this for their children, research shows that being in an institution is detrimental to children’s well-being.
Every 3 months a child is in an orphanage, they lose 1 month of development.
80% of children in orphanages have at least one living parent.
In lower and middle income countries, 200 million children under five years of age fail to reach their developmental potential. That is 30% of the world’s children.
V. REINTEGRATING CHILDREN BACK INTO THEIR OWN FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES
Johnny, a 13-year-old boy who lives in South Haiti, and his mother were promised that Johnny would be taken to the city to be provided an education in exchange for doing light chores around the house. Johnny’s mother thought about how she had nothing for her children and that it would only benefit Johnny to be educated. As it would be for a short time, she decided she would send him off with this classy and wealthy woman from Port-au-Prince.
However, as the story usually goes in Haiti, Johnny became a “restavek”, a slave instead of receiving an education as promised.
Click here to read the full story of how Johnny was reunited with his family and how much his life has improved since the reunification.
VI. TRANSFERRING CHILDREN INTO MORE SUITABLE ENVIRONMENTS
When children are young and developing, connecting to a loving family environment is incredibly important. At times, finding homes with relatives and new families is the best option for a child.
The Bucharest Early Intervention Project (BEIP) finds that children shifted from an institution to family or foster care before the age of two made significant improvements in development.
1. Williamson, J., & Greenberg, A. (2010). Families, not orphanages. Better Care Network, New York.
2. USAID. United States Agency for International Development. (December 2012). United States Government Action Plan on Children in Adversity: A Framework for International Assistance: 2012-2017.
3. Network, B. C. (2009). Global facts about orphanages. Better Care Network, New York, NY, 1-9.
4. McCall, R. B., & Groark, C. J. (2015). Research on institutionalized children: Implications for international child welfare practitioners and policymakers. International Perspectives in Psychology: Research, Practice, Consultation,4(2), 142.
5. Laumann, L. (2015). Household Economic Strengthening in Support of Prevention of Family-Child Separation and Children’s Reintegration in Family Care. FHI 360.