Children without parental care

What do we mean by children without parental care?

We are referring to children who for various reasons are unable to continue living with their parents. This could be the result of sickness, poverty, addiction or that the child is being badly treated in the family and society must therefore step in and place the child in another family or, as a last resort, in an institution.

 

What is the goal of Childhood’s work on behalf of children without parental care?

Generally, it is best for a child to grow up in his or her own family. However, there are situations when children, for a shorter or longer period, must be taken into care by society. In a situation such as this, there is no perfect solution. Research and experience have shown, however, that the best alternative for the child is often to live in a family setting as close to his or her place of origin as possible, to live in a natural environment and if possible keep in touch with family and friends. Growing up in an orphanage can lead to a number of negative consequences for the development and well-being of the child. Therefore, our goal is that no children will need to grow up in an institution and that all children can grow up in a family setting.

What does Childhood do?

Childhood works to ensure that children are not placed in orphanages unnecessarily and that this should only occur if other alternatives are tried first, and it really is in the best interests of the child. UN guidelines for the care of children state that poverty and a lack of education are not sufficient grounds to place a child in an institution. As orphanages are increasingly viewed as a solution to take care of poor children and to offer them an education, and this trend is being driven with financing from richer countries, Childhood also endeavors to change attitudes toward institutional care and to increase awareness that this form of care is not good for children, in particular for small children. Childhood also supports projects that work to reunite broken families when it is deemed appropriate for the child to move back home.

We support the development of family child care homes (foster families) and kinship care to offer more children who are unable to live with their biological parents an opportunity to grow up in a safe family.

Young people who have grown up in institutions or in foster families often need help when they take their first steps into adult life and an independent existence. Without a network and support, they often turn to crime, are unemployed, find themselves in violent relationships, suffer from addiction and have difficulties obtaining a place to live and work. Childhood’s target groups overlap in many ways. For example, young adults who grow up in institutions often have children early, and these children are often placed in social care.