Unfortunately, the quality of care in institutions is low and lack of proper protection puts children at high risk of physical and sexual abuse. In addition to developmental delay, 80% of children have growth retardation. Children in institutions often live in isolation.
Leaving the institution creates problems with integration into society.
Most children in institutions still have parents. Poverty is the number one reason for removal from home, followed by access to health care and education.
Parents often struggle to meet their basic needs. They feel compelled to use an orphanage for a better life. Children with disabilities are at increased risk of being separated from their parents.
The rights of the child to grow up in family and community have been recognized internationally
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989):
“Recognizing that the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding”
UNGA Resolution on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Children (2019):
When immediate family is unable to care for a child, provide quality alternative care within the wider family, and, if failing that, within the community in a family setting, bearing in mind the best interests of the child
This form of care allows children to stay with their original (or extended) family. If separation from the family cannot be prevented, then children can be placed in an alternative family, preferably within his or her community.
Read more about institutional and family-based care on the websites of our network partners: