Background Paper: Families, Not Orphanages

Cover detail from Families, not Orphanages

Publication details

Author(s): John Williamson and Aaron Greenberg (Better Care Network)
Date: September 2010
Themes: Alternative Care, poverty

With particular attention to lower income countries, this paper examines the mismatch between children’s needs and the realities and long-term effects of residential institutions. Evidence presented in this paper indicates that the number of orphanages is increasing, particularly in countries impacted by conflict, displacement, AIDS, high poverty rates or a combination of these factors.  

The paper examines available evidence on the typical reasons why children end up in institutions, and the consequences and costs of providing this type of care compared to other options.  

The paper concludes with a description of better care alternatives and recommendations for policy-makers.