Transitioning to Family-Based Care: A New Approach for Children’s Welfare

Deinstitutionalization //De-in-sti-tu-tion-al-iza-tion//. Does it ring a bell? Many children living in orphanages could be reunited with their families if they received the proper support.

Deinstitutionalization, also known as family-based care, advocates for the transition of children from residential institutions such as orphanages to family-based settings.

Children who have lost their parents may be able to return to other relatives like aunts or uncles or be placed in alternative care settings, such as foster or adoptive families.

Family-based care is an alternative care setting that closely resembles the family unit.

Dzifah Tamakloe

 Deinstitutionalization is closing the use of institutions (orphanages) and redirecting resources toward developing alternate services that enable children to live in a family and community setting.

It includes working to prevent family separation in the first instance by increasing a parent’s access to social services and education for their child.

It also ensures appropriate family-based alternatives are in place should a child be unable to remain with their family.

Lastly, it focuses on dismantling the current institutional system and reintegrating children back into family and community life.

 Deinstitutionalization is a complex process that cannot happen overnight.

Therefore, orphanages cannot be closed immediately, and children can only be moved when appropriate alternatives have been found or created. Be a voice.

Is running orphanages more expensive than putting children in families?


According to a report by Better Care Network (BCN), institutional care is more expensive per child than other forms of alternative care.

Residential care facilities necessitate staffing and maintenance, including payment of salaries, upkeep of buildings, preparation of food, and provision of services.

Though actual costs differ from one country or program to another, it is consistently shown that supporting many more children in family care costs the same as keeping one child in an institution such as an orphanage.

In Central and Eastern Europe, a thorough assessment of costs reveals that professional foster care is a more economical option.

According to calculations made by the World Bank in Romania, professional foster care would cost only USD$91 per child per month (based on 1998 official exchange rates), while institutional care would cost between USD$201 and USD$280 per child per month.

Family-based care is better for children’s developmental outcomes and maximizes the use of resources to benefit more children.

Hope and Homes for Children, 1millionhomes, Charis Touch and BetterCare Network are championing this cause.


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