10 January 2019

Are There Still Children in Orphanages in Europe?

We are often asked this question: do orphanages still exist in Europe? There are well over a million children in orphanages in Central and Eastern Europe. The shocking pictures of the terrible conditions in orphanages that came to light in the late 1980s and the early 1990s resulted in an enormous amount of aid being donated to the orphanages. However, it wasn’t until recently that some governments have begun to realise that, however well resourced, orphanages are harmful to children.

Orphanages do not protect children. They harm them. Why?


Children in orphanages are often subject to high levels of abuse and neglect. They live in a world without love. The impact of this can last a lifetime.


There are 8 million children across the world confined to soulless orphanages. Over 80% of them are not orphans. It doesn’t have to be this way.


Orphanages deprive children of their voice, giving them no say or control over the decisions that affect them. We give children what they want and need most – a stable, loving family.

Hope and Homes for Children’s Work

Hope and Homes for Children is at the forefront of transforming child protection systems across Eastern Europe and other parts of the world by closing orphanages and replacing them with family-based care. In order to achieve this, we must dismantle large scale institutions by developing family-based care and community-based services to support children and parents at risk, in a timely and sustainable fashion.

Working in partnership with other NGOs as well as with local and national authorities, we have made a major contribution over the years to reducing the number of children in orphanages and institutions. In Romania the reduction has been from over 100,000 to less than 7,500, with the closure of 32 orphanages; in Moldova from 12,000 to just over 1,000; in Bulgaria we have reduced the number of children under three in institutions by 75%; in Ukraine Hope and Homes for Children managed to close 2 institutions, and prevented the separation and institutionalisation of over 3,000 children.

We’re inspired by the courage and resilience of the children we work for. Read some of their stories here.

Get Involved

Do you want to know more about our Programmes in Eastern Europe? Fill in this form with your questions, and we will be happy to respond.

If you want to contribute to our work and help us transform the lives of children around the world please visit this page to make a donation. Your help will bring us closer to a day where every child grows up in a loving, stable family.

We exist to support #FamiliesNotOrphanages