Identifying and training best practices in residential orphan care
In countries around the world, when children age out of alternative care systems, they fail— overwhelmingly. This is not always a result of neglect. There is often no lack of love or good intentions. Many of those who care for children living outside families live out love for them on a daily basis.
But love and good intentions are not enough. Children still fail.
Global orphan statistics are notoriously unreliable, but there are a few things we know for sure. At least 6 million children live in orphanages, and many millions more in foster care. What we know about these kids when they leave alternative care is that they do not make a successful transition to independence.
- A Russian study found that 12% take their lives before age 18, and 60% of boys who age out of orphan care are incarcerated at some point.
- A European study reported that 40% of orphans are homeless within three years of aging out of care.
- In New York and Florida, it is estimated 75% of women in the sex trades have spent time in orphan care, usually in foster homes.
A childhood spent in alternative care rarely translates into a successful adulthood.
At some point we have to ask ourselves:
Are we really making any difference in the lives of these kids?
If we are spending only $3,000 per year on each child in residential care, that means we are investing 18 trillion dollars annually without changing outcomes for orphans.