Keeping Children Out of Harmful Institutions: Why we should be investing in family-based care

Institutional care can cause serious harm to children. Stakeholders must take urgent steps to care for and protect some of the world's most vulnerable children.

November 2009 0.00

Many people don't realise that most children in orphanages or children’s homes are not in fact orphans. At least four out of five children in institutional care have one or both parents alive. 

In many institutions, the standard of care is poor. Many children are abused and neglected. Children under three, in particular, are at risk of permanent developmental damage by not being cared for in a family setting.

This report sheds new light on the use of institutional care for children. The report:

  • examines new evidence of the harm its long-term use can cause to children and the impact this has on their overall wellbeing.
  • explores why governments and donors continue to prioritise institutional care, despite the harm it can cause.
  • looks at what action must be taken to address the harmful institutionalisation of children.

Above all, this report challenges governments, UN agencies, donors, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), faith-based organisations and others
associated with the use of institutional care to review their own strategies and take urgent steps to care for and protect some of the world’s most
vulnerable children.

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