Identifying and training best practices in residential orphan care


The return on investment is measured not in capital projects, but in the transformed lives of orphans throughout the world.

The numbers are staggering: UNICEF estimates there are 5-8 million children in residential orphan care—but acknowledges that figure may be vastly understated. If the number is only 6 million, and we estimate a very conservative $3,000 per child for annual care, we are spending 18 trillion dollars in residential orphan care annually. And yet we have virtually nothing to show for it. Throwing money at the problem doesn’t change outcomes.

Wise, strategic engagement is the key.

That is why investment in Hope Institute is so important. We don’t spend our funding on bricks and mortar, equipment, or even on providing the necessities for orphan care. Instead, the team at Hope Institute is totally focused on those already immersed in providing care for orphans. The organizations with which we work have the buildings, the buses, and they are providing good homes for their children.

Too often, however, even well-established organizations have little or no access to best practices. It is a foundational value of Hope Institute that knowledge and methodologies in the care of high-risk OVC must be shared. We help organizations find the paths to change the futures of their kids.


The Importance of Scale

We cannot begin to address the magnitude of the problem one child at a time; the numbers are simply too great. Every day, as many as 40,000 more children become orphans or are abandoned by their parents—and only 250,000 children are adopted each year. About as many children become orphans in any one week as are adopted in a single year. Annually, 14 million children age out of the care systems, including residential programs and foster care—that is 38,356 orphans aging out every day; one child every 2.2 seconds.

The only way to address this problem is by scaling programs to meet this avalanche of children.

At Hope Institute, we are committed to developing scaled projects which will multiply the impact of our programming and the success of our training.


Major Projects

Centers of Excellence

Hope Institute’s Centers of Excellence are regional training centers that will be located on the campuses of partners that have implemented components of Hope Institute’s comprehensive programming for residential OVC facilities. These programs have demonstrated excellence in preparing their graduates for independent living and integration back into society. It is the mission of these Centers to provide training in evidence-based methodologies for the care of orphans and vulnerable children in residential programs within an identified geographic and cultural region.

We aspire to see our Centers of Excellence be the recognized regional authorities in residential care for high-risk orphans and vulnerable children, and to see their training programs impact the lives of high-risk OVC throughout their regions. Through our Centers of Excellence, we aim to achieve a fundamental policy and perception shift for residential care in each region where they are operative.

Go HERE to dig deeper.


Standards of Care

Ideally, every child would be born into a family sufficiently equipped to care for them. In reality, millions of children throughout the world must be raised outside their biological families. Many social structures exist to meet this demand, including domestic and international adoption, foster care, and short- and long-term residential orphan care. We affirm that each of these structures meets specific needs of the orphan and vulnerable child (OVC) community, and that the quality of the care a child receives is more important than the structure through which they receive it.

We recognize that, for some high-risk orphans and vulnerable children, only a high-quality, long-term residential program provides them a sufficiently supportive and restorative environment. We also recognize that inappropriate types of residential facilities cause real and lasting harm to the children they serve. The critical factor is to make sure that residential care programs provide a requisite and foundational level of care across the spectrum of a child’s needs.

We have identified the basic components of comprehensive care. The general categories include:

  • Protect each child’s autonomy and agency
  • Approximate family care as closely as possible
  • Holistically address children’s health needs
  • Prepare children for independence
  • Engage constructively with the larger community and culture
  • Maintain organizational transparency

The Standards are never a finished project; instead, they are constantly informed by research and inputs from programs where they have been implemented.

Interested in learning more? Go HERE.


Residential Care Data Portal

At Hope Institute, we are committed to providing the very best in research- and experience-proven methodologies for orphan care practitioners. One of the great challenges of residential orphan care is the lack of reliable data about what actually works. We are in the process of developing a comprehensive web-based portal that will allow us to collect, aggregate, and assess graduate metrics. The portal will feature Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) technology. All client organizations engaging with Hope Institute will be required to capture data on both children in care and graduates. In return, the organizations will receive data forms (intake forms, child health tracking, graduate assessment, etc.) as well as access to comparative data from other organizations. Using our Standards of Care as a basis of assessment, we look to determine the efficacy of program inputs for successful transition to independent adulthood. The SaaS portal is unique in the world of orphan care, and will position Hope Institute at the head of its field.

More information available HERE.


Distance Learning Program

We want every orphan care practitioner to have access to the very best in training and methodologies. But we also understand the practical constraints of staffing, time, and distance. We have far more requests for training, information, assessments, and consultations than we can begin to accommodate. Our response to this demand is the development of a comprehensive, university-level curriculum for web-based instruction. We will initially offer five courses of study in the most vital areas of residential orphan care:

  1. program assessment
  2. essentials of orphan care
  3. trauma-competent care
  4. vocational training
  5. transition to independence

We will also offer short courses in other important areas such as nutrition, non-profit management, family reintegration, etc. We believe Hope Institute’s distance learning program will dramatically improve the quality of care at residential programs throughout the world by giving practitioners access to the highest quality methodologies and programming available.

Go HERE to read about all digital learning opportunities.