Identifying and training best practices in residential orphan care

The Problem

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.