Considering starting an orphanage? Here’s an alternative to consider instead

As someone who has experienced the challenges of growing up in institutional care, I am passionate about shedding light on the complexities of providing support for children without parental care.

While the traditional orphanage model is well-intentioned, my personal experiences and reflections over the years have led me to advocate for alternative methods of caring for vulnerable children.

Dzifah Tamakloe

From my point of view, here are several reasons why starting an orphanage may not be the best idea.

Institutionalization: Orphanages can perpetuate the institutionalization of children, which may not provide the best environment for their overall well-being and development.

Dzifah Tamakloe

Lack of individualized care: Orphanages may struggle to provide the personalized care and attention that children need, especially those who have experienced trauma and loss.

Impact on family preservation: The existence of orphanages can divert resources and attention away from efforts to support family preservation and community-based care.

Stigma: Children growing up in orphanages may face stigma and discrimination, which can negatively impact their self-esteem and future opportunities.

Long-term effects: Research suggests that children raised in institutional settings may experience long-term negative effects on their physical, emotional, and cognitive development.

Impediment to alternative care options: The presence of orphanages may discourage the development of better alternative care options, such as foster care and kinship care.

Lack of permanency: Orphanages may struggle to provide a sense of permanency and stability that children need for healthy development and attachment.

Independence and life skills: Children in orphanages may have limited opportunities to develop independence and essential life skills that are crucial for their transition to adulthood.

Dzifah Tamakloe

Risk of abuse and neglect: Large institutional settings can increase the risk of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable children.

Human rights perspective: From a human rights perspective, orphanages may not align with the principle of placing the best interests of the child as a primary consideration.

Here are some alternative suggestions to consider:

Support family preservation and community-based care: Invest in efforts that aim to keep families together and provide support within the community can create a nurturing and stable environment for children in need.

Explore foster care and kinship care: These options prioritize individualized attention and support for each child, offering a more personalized approach to caregiving.

Invest in life skills and independence programs: Providing opportunities for older children to develop essential life skills can better prepare them for a successful transition to adulthood.

So, what can be done for these children? Thankfully, there are lots of ways and resources for to help children grow in families. Please be sure to watch out for more details in my upcoming book.

Read more about the dangers of institutional care here. There are a lot more resources out there than you think.

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