Picture of child with mother after reunification

Most children in orphanages still have one or two living parents. Poverty is the primary reason that children are placed in orphanages. Children are placed in orphanages because families lack access to basic services like education, medical care, food and shelter; for their safety during emergency situations like natural disasters or regional violence; because divorce, abandonment or death of one parent causes the remaining parent to struggle to provide for the family; and due to abandonment, abuse, and neglect often because of alcohol or drug addiction.

Parents and community members may believe an orphanage is beneficial to a child because it meets some of his or her basic needs. Unfortunately, orphanages are not healthy places for children to grow and develop.

Graphic - Development IssuesDevelopment Issues

Children living in orphanages are at greater risk for long-term negative impact on their social, emotional, and cognitive development and often have pervasive growth problems, including stunting, and impairments in fine and gross motor skills and coordination.

Graphic - Risk of abuseRisk of abuse and exploitation

Research has shown that children are more likely to be abused and exploited in orphanages.

Graphic - Lack of loveLack of love, support and nurture

Being separated from their parents causes children to be traumatized and damages their identity and self-esteem. Children often do not receive the consistent attention and nurture they need to develop due to the lack of responsive caregivers.

Graphic - Unprepared for LifeUnprepared for life

Orphanage-raised children are frequently unprepared for independent life, which often results in unemployment, homelessness, conflict with the law, sexual exploitation, poor relationships, and poor parenting of their own children.

Our Response: Reunification

We believe it doesn’t have to be this way. Evidence demonstrates that children thrive best in a family where they can receive consistence and responsive care to their needs.

For many children in orphanages, reunification with their family is a very real possibility. Reunification is a process made up of many different steps, however, and not a one-time event. Initial evaluation, preparation of the child and the family, facilitating access to appropriate services and support, and ongoing monitoring are important steps of the process.

When it isn’t possible or the best option for a child to be reunited with his or her biological parents, however, a continuum of family-based care option is used. This facilitates the possibility of identifying the best care option to meet each child’s unique needs.

Graphic showing the child reunification process

When a child is given the best option that fits his or her circumstances, he or she will have the best possibility of receiving the love and nurture they need to develop into well-adjusted adults.

Picture of children with parent after reunification process

How you can get involved

Mother with her two children after reunification process

Help us to reunite children with families by sponsoring a child into a family.

Picture of father with child after reunification

Read the stories of children we’ve helped return to families.

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