Former Berlin Pankow orphanage

An orphanage is a residential institution devoted to the care of orphans – children whose parents are deceased or otherwise unable or unwilling to care for them. Parents, and sometimes grandparents, are legally responsible for supporting children, but in the absence of these or other relatives willing to care for the children, they become a ward of the state, and orphanages are one way of providing for their care and housing. However some orphanages, especially in developing countries will prey on vulnerable families at risk of breakdown and actively recruit children, orphanages in developing countries are rarely run by the state[1][2]

In some places, orphanages are slowly being phased out in many countries in favour of direct support to vulnerable children, foster care or adoption. Few large international charities continue to fund them, however they are still commonly founded by smaller charities and religious groups.[1]

Other residential institutions for children can be called group home, children's home, rehabilitation center or youth treatment center.


Comparison to alternatives

During the 20th century, conventional wisdom held that orphanages, especially large orphanages, were the worst possible care option for children.[3][4] In large institutions, babies may not receive enough eye contact, physical contact, and stimulation to promote proper physical, social or cognitive development.[5][6] In the worst cases, orphanages can be dangerous and unregulated places where children are subject to abuse and neglect.[7][8][9]

However, researchers from Duke University have shown that institutional care in America in the 20th century produced the same health, emotional, intellectual, mental, and physical outcomes as care by relatives, and better than care in the homes of strangers.[10] One explanation for this is the prevalence of permanent temporary foster care. This is the name for a long string of short stays with different foster care families.[10] Permanent temporary foster care is highly disruptive to the child and prevents the child from developing a sense of security or belonging.

Compared to foster care, orphanages are generally more expensive.[10]

Whereas orphanages are intended to be reasonably permanent placements, group homes may be used for short-term placements. They may be residential treatment centers, and they frequently specialize in a particular population with psychiatric or behavioral problems, e.g., a group home for children and teens with autism, eating disorders, or substance abuse problems or child soldiers undergoing decommissioning.

Placement in the home of a relative maintains and usually improves the child's connection to family members. In the some cases, the biological family can also be dangerous to a child.[10][11]


Increasingly there is a move to Deinstitutionalise child care systems. This involves closing down orphanages and other institutions for children and developing replacement services. The first option for a child is to see if they can be reunited with their biological or extended family. Often circumstances will have changed since the separation. If that is not possible domestic adoption or long term fostering are considered. Older children may be supported to independence. Disabled children may need small family type homes where their needs can be catered for.

It is important to understand the reasons for child abandonment then set up targeted alternative services to support vulnerable families at risk of separation[12] such as mother and baby units and day care centres.[13]


The first orphanages, called "orphanotrophia", were founded in the 1st century amid various alternative means of orphan support. Jewish law, for instance, prescribed care for the widow and the orphan, and Athenian law supported all orphans of those killed in military service until the age of eighteen. Plato (Laws, 927) says: "Orphans should be placed under the care of public guardians. Men should have a fear of the loneliness of orphans and of the souls of their departed parents. A man should love the unfortunate orphan of whom he is guardian as if he were his own child. He should be as careful and as diligent in the management of the orphan's property as of his own or even more careful still."[14] The care of orphans was referred to bishops and, during the Middle Ages, to monasteries. Many orphanages practiced some form of "binding-out" in which children, as soon as they were old enough, were given as apprentices to households. This would ensure their support and their learning an occupation.

Such practices are assumed to be quite rare in the modern Western world, thanks to improved social security such as the Social Security Act which allowed Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) to be passed. This marked a change in social attitudes. This lack of social security and failure to develop alternative ways to support vulnerable families is the key reason that orphanages remain in many other countries.

The deinstitutionalisation programme sped up in the 1950s, after a series of scandals involving the coercion of birth parents and abuse of orphans (notably at Georgia Tann's Tennessee Children's Home Society), the United States and other countries have moved to de-institutionalize the care of vulnerable children—that is, close down orphanages in favor of foster care and accelerated adoption. Moreover, as it is no longer common for birth parents in Western countries to give up their children, and as far fewer people die of diseases or violence while their children are still young, the need to operate large orphanages has decreased.

Major charities are increasingly focusing their efforts on the re-integration of orphans in order to keep them with their parents or extended family and communities. Orphanages are no longer common in the European community, and Romania in particular has struggled to reduce the visibility of its children's institutions to meet conditions of its entry into the European Union. In the United States, the largest remaining orphanage is the Bethesda Orphanage, founded in 1740 by George Whitefield.

In many works of fiction (notably Oliver Twist and Annie), the administrators of orphanages are depicted as cruel monsters. It is true that some orphanages are funded on a per child basis and there can be attempts made to encourage children from poor families to enter the orphanage which will provide food, clothing and an education but often lack the individual love required for full cognitive development.

Orphanage Scams

Visitors to developing countries can be taken in by orphanage scams, these can include orphanages created for the day[15] or orphanages as a front to get foreigners to pay school fees of orphanage director's extended families.[16] Alternatively the children whose upkeep is being funded by foreigners may be sent to work, not to school, the exact opposite of what the donor is expecting.[17] The worst even sell children.[18][19][20] In Cambodia some are bought from their parents for very little and passed on to westerners who pay a large fee so they can adopt them.[21]. This also happens in China[22]. In Nepal orphanages can be used as a way to remove a child from their parents before placing them for adoption overseas which is equally lucrative to the owners who will receive a number or official and unofficial payments and 'donations'[23][24].


The orphanages and institutions remaining in Europe tend to be state funded.


There are approximately 10 small orphanages in Albania; each one having only 12-40 children residing there.[25]

Bosnia and Herzegovina

SOS Children's Villages giving support to 240 orphaned children.[26]


The Bulgarian government has giving interest to strength the children's rights.

In November 2007, Bulgaria adopted a national strategic plan for the period 2008–2018 to improve the living standards of the country's children. Bulgaria is working hard to get all institutions closed within the next few years and find alternative ways to take care of the children.

Support is given to poor families and work during daytime; correspondingly, day centers have started up. A smaller number of children have also been able to be relocated into foster families".[27] [28]

There are living 7000[29] children in Bulgarian orphanages wrongly classified as orphaned. Only 10% of them are orphans, with the rest of the children placed in orphanages in temporary periods when the family is in crisis.[30]

United Kingdom

During the Victorian Era, child abandonment was rampant, and orphanages were set up to reduce infant mortality. Such places were often so full of children that "killing nurses" often administered Godfrey's Cordial, a special concoction of opium and treacle, to soothe colic in babies.[31]

Many orphaned children were placed in either prisons or the workhouse, as there were so few places in orphanages, or else they were left to fend for themselves on the street. Such places as were available could only be obtained by procuring votes for admission, placing them out of reach of poor families.

Known orphanages are:

Founded in Name Location Founder
1795 Bristol Asylum for Poor Orphan Girls (Blue Maids' Orphanage) nr Stokes Croft turnpike, Bristol
1800 St Elizabeth's Orphanage of Mercy Eastcombe, Glos
1813 London Asylum for Orphans Hackney, London Rev Andrew Reed
1822 Female Orphan Asylum Brighton Francois de Rosaz
1827 Infant Orphan Asylum Wanstead Rev Andrew Reed
1829 Sailor Orphan Girls School London
1836 Ashley Down orphanage Bristol George Müller
1844 Asylum for Fatherless Children Purley Rev Andrew Reed
1854 Wolverhampton Orphan Asylum Goldthorn Hill, Wolverhampton John Lees
1856 Wiltshire Reformatory Warminster
1860 Major Street Ragged Schools Liverpool Canon Thomas Major Lester
1861 St. Philip Neri's orphanage for boys Birmingham Oratorians
1861 Adult Orphan Institution St Andrew's Place, Regent's Park, London
1861 British Orphan Asylum Clapham, London
1861 Female Orphan Asylum Westminster Road, London
1861 Female Orphan Home Charlotte Row, St Peter Walworth, London
1861 Jews' Orphan Asylum Goodmans Fields, Whitechapel, London
1861 London Orphan Asylum Hackney, London
1861 Merchant Seamen's Orphan Asylum Bromley St Leonard, Bow, London
1861 Orphan Working School Haverstock Hill, Kentish Town, London
1861 Orphanage Eagle House, Hammersmith, London
1861 The Orphanage Asylum Christchurch, Marylebone, London
1861 The Sailors' Orphan Girls' School & Home Hampstead, London
1862 Swansea Orphan Home for Girls Swansea
1865 The Boys' Home Regent's Park London
1866 Dr Barnado's various Dr Thomas Barnado
1866 National Industrial Home for Crippled Boys London
1867 Peckham Home for Little Girls London Maria Rye
1868 The Boys' Refuge Bisley
1868 Royal Albert Orphanage Worcester
1868 Worcester Orphan Asylum Worcester
1869 Ely Deaconesses Orphanage Bedford Rev TB Stevenson
1869 Orphanage and Almshouses Erdington Josiah Mason
1869 The Neglected Children of Exeter Exeter
1869 Alexandra Orphanage for Infants Hornsey Rise, London
1869 Stockwell Orphanage London Charles Spurgeon
1869 New Orphan Asylum Upper Henwick, Worcs
1869 Wesleyan Methodist National Children's Homes various Rev Thomas Bowman Stephenson
1869 London Orphan Asylum Watford
1870 Fegans Homes London James William Condell Fegan
1870 Manchester and Salford Boys' and Girls' Refuge Manchester
1871 Wigmore West Bromwich and Walsall WJ Gilpin
1872 Middlemore Home Edgbaston Dr John T. Middlemore
1872 St Theresa Roman Catholic Orphanage for Girls Plymouth
1873 Ryelands Road Leominster
1874 Cottage Homes for Children West Derby Mrs Nassau Senior
1875 Aberlour Orphanage Aberlour, Scotland Rev Charles Jupp
1877 All Saints Boys' Orphanage Lewisham, London
1880 Birmingham Working Boy's Home (for boys over the age of 13) Birmingham Major Alfred V. Fordyce
1881 The Waifs and Strays' Society East Dulwich, London Edward de Montjoie Rudolf
1881 Catholic Childrens Protection Society Liverpool
1881 Dorset County Boys Home Milborne St Andrew
1881 Brixton Orphanage Brixton Road, Lambeth, London
1881 Jews Hospital & Orphan Asylum Knights Hill Road, Norwood, London
1881 Orphanage Infirmary West Square, London Road, Southwark, London
1881 Orphans' Home South Street. London Road, Southwark, London
1882 St Michael's Home for Friendless Girls Salisbury
1890 St Saviour's Home Shrewsbury
1890 Orphanage of Pity Warminster
1890 Wolverhampton Union Cottage homes Wolverhampton
1892 Calthorpe Home For Girls Handsworth, Birmingham
1918 Painswick Orphanage Painswick
unknown Clio Boys' Home Liverpool
unknown St Philip's Orphanage, (RC Institution for Poor Orphan Children) Brompton, Kensington


As of 2009, there are 35 orphanages, which houses approximately 1300 orphaned children. [32] [33]


A comprehensive national strategy for strengthening the rights of children adopted by Parliament in 2007 and will run until 2032.

Child flow to orphanages has been stopped and they are now protected by social services. Violation of children's rights leads to court.[34]


In Lithuania there are 105 institutions. 41 percent of the institutions have each more than 60 children. Lithuania has the highest number of orphaned children in Northern-Europe. [35] [36]


Children's rights enjoys a relatively strong protection in Poland. Orphaned children are now protected by social services.

Social Workers' opportunities have increased by get more foster homes established and aggressive family members can now be forced away from home, instead of re-placing the child / children. [37]

Republic of Moldova

More than 8800 children expected to grow up at any kind of state institution, but only 3 percent of them are orphans.[38]


The Romanian child welfare system is in the process of revising itself and has reduced the flow of infants into orphanages. [39]

According to Baroness Emma Nicholson, in some counties Romania now has "a completely new, world class, state of the art, child health development policy." But several Dickensian orphanages remain in Romania.[40]

Romania still has the highest number of orphaned children in Europe, but by 2020 Romanian institutions should be a thing of the past with family care services will replacing the old system. All children in need will be protected by social services by 2020.[41]

As of 2011, there are 10,833 orphaned children in 256 large institutions in Romania.[42]

# year Total children in care of the state. Number of children in orphanages
1. 1990 &1000000000004740500000047,405 25,870[43]
2. 1994 52,986[43]
3. 1997 &1000000000005146800000051,468 39,569
4. 1998 &1000000000005564100000055,641 38,597
5. 1999 &1000000000005708700000057,087 33,356
6. 2000 &1000000000008775300000087,753 57,181
7. 2001 &1000000000008788900000087,889 57,060
8. 2002 &1000000000008786700000087,867 49,965[44]
9. 2003 &1000000000008637900000086,379 43,092[45]
10. 2004 &1000000000008444500000084,445 37,660[46]
11. 2005 &1000000000008305900000083,059 32,821[47]
12. 2006 &1000000000007876600000078,766 28,786
13. 2007 &1000000000007379300000073,793 26,599[48]
14. 2008 &1000000000007104700000071,047 24,979[49]
15. 2009 &1000000000006885800000068,858 24,227[50]
16. 2010 &1000000000006200000000062,000 19,000[51] [52]
17. 2011 &1000000000005000000000050,000 10,833[53]

[54] [55]


There are many state orphanages "where several thousand children are kept and which are still part of an outdated child care system". The conditions for them are bad because the government doesn't paid rapidly attention to improve the living standards for disabled children in Serbia's orphanages and medical institutions.[56]


The Committee gave some recommendations, such as proposals for the adoption of a new "national 14" action plan for children for at least the next five years, and the creation of an independent institution for the protection of child rights.[57]


In Sweden there are 5,000 children in the care of the state. None of them are currently living in an orphanage, because there is a social service law which requires that the children reside in a family home.[citation needed]

Sub Saharan Africa

Whilst some African orphanages are state funded the majority (especially in Sub Saharan Africa) appear to be funded by donors, often from Western nations.


"For example, in the Jerusalem Association Children's Home (JACH), only 160 children remain of the 785 who were in JACH's three orphanages." / "Attitudes regarding the institutional care of children have shifted dramatically in recent years in Ethiopia. There appears to be general recognition by MOLSA and the NGOs with which Pact is working that such care is, at best, a last resort, and that serious problems arise with the social reintegration of children who grow up in institutions, and deinstitutionalization through family reunification and independent living are being emphasized."[58]


A 2007 survey sponsored by OrphanAid Africa and carried out by the Department of Social Welfare came up with the figure of 4,800 children in institutional care in 148 orphanages.Of these at least four have since been closed. The website www.ovcghana.org details these reforms.


A 1999 survey of 35,000 orphans found the following number in institutional care: 64 in registered institutions and 164 in unregistered institutions.[59]


Out of 400,000 orphans, 5,000 are living in orphanages.[60] The Government of Rwanda are working with Hope and Homes for Children to close the first institution and develop a model for community based childcare which can be used across the country and ultimately Africa[61]


"Currently, there are 52 orphanages in Tanzania caring for about 3,000 orphans and vulnerable children."[62] A world bank document on Tanzania showed it was six times more expensive to institutionalise a child there than to help the family become functional and support the child themselves.


In Nigeria, a rapid assessment of orphans and vulnerable children conducted in 2004 with UNICEF support revealed that there were about seven millions orphans in 2003 and that 800,000 more orphans were added during that same year. Out of this total number, about 1.8 million are orphaned by HIV/AIDS. With the spread of HIV/AIDS, the number of orphans is expected to increase rapidly in the coming years to 8.2 million by 2010.[citation needed][63]

South Africa

Since 2000, South Africa does not licence orphanages any more but they continue to be set up unregulated and potentially more harmful. Theoretically the policy supports community based family homes but this is not always the case. One example is the homes operated by Thokomala, http://www.thokomala.org.za.


A 1996 national survey of orphans revealed no evidence of orphanage care. The breakdown of care was as follows: 38% grandparents 55% extended family 1% older orphan 6% non-relative Recently a group of students started a fundraising website for an orphanage in Zambia. http://mmorphanage.org[59]


There are 38 privately run children's charity homes, or orphanages, in the country, and the government operates eight of its own.

Statistics on the total number of children in orphanages nationwide are unavailable, but caregivers say their facilities were becoming unmanageably overwhelmed almost on a daily basis. Between 1994 and 1998, the number of orphans in Zimbabwe more than doubled from 200,000 to 543,000, and in five years, the number is expected to reach 900,000. (Unfortunately, there is no room for these children.)[64]


In Togo, there were an estimated 280,000 orphans under 18 years of age in 2005, 88,000 of them orphaned by AIDS.[65][65] Ninety-six thousand orphans in Togo attend school.[65]

=== Sierra Leone ===[66]

  • Children (0–17 years) orphaned by AIDS, 2005, estimate 31,000[67]
  • Children (0–17 years) orphaned due to all causes, 2005, estimate 340,000[67]
  • Orphan school attendance ratio, 1999–2005 71,000[67]


  • Children (0–17 years) orphaned by AIDS, 2005, estimate 25,000[68]
  • Children (0–17 years) orphaned due to all causes, 2005, estimate 560,000[68]
  • Orphan school attendance ratio, 1999–2005 74,000[68]

SAARC Countries


There are at least 602 child care homes housing 15,095 children in Nepal[69] "Orphanages have turned into a Nepalese industry there is rampant abuse and a great need for intervention."[70][71] Many do not require adequate checks of their volunteers leaving children open to abuse.[72]


"At Kabul's two main orphanages, Alauddin and Tahia Maskan, the number of children enrolled has increased almost 80 percent since last January, from 700 to over 1,200 children. Almost half of these come from families who have at least one parent, but who can't support their children."[73] The non-governmental organisation Mahboba's promise assists orphans in contemporary Afghanistan.[74]


"There are no statistics regarding the actual number of children in welfare institutions in Bangladesh. The Department of Social Services, under the Ministry of Social Welfare, has a major programme named Child Welfare and Child Development in order to provide access to food, shelter, basic education, health services and other basic opportunities for hapless children." (The following numbers mention capacity only, not actual numbers of orphans at present.)

9,500 -State institutions
  250 -babies in three available "baby homes"
  400 -Destitute Children's Rehabilitation Centre
  100 -Vocational Training Centre for Orphans and Destitute Children
1,400 -Sixty-five Welfare and Rehabilitation Programmes for Children with Disability

The private welfare institutions are mostly known as orphanages and madrassahs. The authorities of most of these orphanages put more emphasis on religion and religious studies. One example follows: 400 – Approximately – Nawab Sir Salimullah Muslim Orphanage[75]


Orphans, Children (0–17 years) orphaned due to all causes, 2010, estimate 51 "Minivan News". http://minivannews.com/society/2010/04/04/vilingili-orphanage-understaffed-and-overcrowded/. Retrieved 6 April 2007. [dead link]

The Far East


The number of orphanages and orphans drastically dropped from 15 institutions and 2,216 persons in 1971 to 9 institutions and 638 persons by the end of 2001.

South Korea

"There are now 17,000 children in public orphanages throughout the country and untold numbers at private institutions."[76]


There are numerous NGOs focusing their efforts on assisting Cambodia's orphans: one group, "World Orphans" constructed 47 orphanages housing over 1500 children in a three year period.[77] The total number of orphans is much higher, but unknown: "There are no accurate figures available on how many orphans there are in Cambodia." One charity named C.H.O.I.C.E. is run by expats based in the capital city of Phnom Penh; it helps support orphans and other poor and homeless people.


"Currently there are 50,000 children in Chinese orphanages, while the number of abandoned children shows no sign of slowing."[citation needed] "Official figures show that fewer than 20,000 of China's orphans are now in any form of institutional care."[citation needed] Chinese official records fail to account for most of the country's abandoned infants and children, only a small proportion of whom are in any form of acknowledged state care.[citation needed] The most recent figure provided by the government for the country's orphan population, 100,000, seems implausibly low for a country with a total population of 1.2 billion.[citation needed] Even if it were accurate, however, the whereabouts of the great majority of China's orphans would still be a complete mystery, leaving crucial questions about the country's child welfare system unanswered and suggesting that the real scope of the catastrophe that has befallen China's unwanted children may be far larger than the evidence in this report documents.


"It is stated that there are 20,000 orphaned children in Laos. There are only three orphanages in the whole country providing places for a total of 1,000 of these children." No Title. By Anneli Dahlbom One of the largest orphanages in Laos is in the town of Phonsavan. It is an S.O.S. orphanage and there are over 120 orphans living in the facility.[78]

The Middle East and North Africa


"The [Mosques of Charity] orphanage houses about 120 children in Giza, Menoufiya and Qalyubiya." "We [Dar Al-Iwaa] provide free education and accommodation for over 200 girls and boys." "Dar Al-Mu'assassa Al-Iwaa'iya (Shelter Association), a government association affiliated with the Ministry of Social Affairs, was established in 1992. It houses about 44 children." There are also 192 children at The Awlady, 30 at Sayeda Zeinab orphanage, and 300 at My Children Orphanage.

Note: There are about 185 orphanages in Egypt. The above information was taken from the following articles: "Other families" by Amany Abdel-Moneim. Al-Ahram Weekly (5/1999). "Ramadan brings charity to Egypt's orphans". Shanghai Star (12/13/2001). "A Child by Any Other Name" by Réhab El-Bakry. Egypt Today (11/2001).

Orphanage Project in Egypt—www.littlestlamb.org


There is still at least one orphanage in Sudan although efforts have been made to close it[79]


The "Royal Charity Organization" is a Bahraini governmental charity organization founded in 2001 by King Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifah to sponsor all helpless Bahraini orphans and widows. Since then almost 7,000 Bahraini families are granted monthly payments, annual school bags, and a number of university scholarships. Graduation ceremonies, various social and educational activities, and occasional contests are held each year by the organization for the benefit of orphans and widows sponsored by the organization.


UNICEF maintains the same number at present. "While the number of state homes for orphans in the whole of Iraq was 25 in 1990 (serving 1,190 children); both the number of homes and the number of beneficiaries has declined. The quality of services has also declined." A 1999 study by UNICEF "recommended the rebuilding of national capacity for the rehabilitation of orphans." The new project "will benefit all the 1,190 children placed in orphanages."

Palestinian Territory

"In 1999, the number of children living in orphanages witnessed a considerable drop as compared to 1998. The number dropped from 1,980 to 1,714 orphans. This is due to the policy of child re-integration in their household adopted by the Ministry of Social Affairs."

Former Soviet Union

The Moscow Orphanage (founded in 1763, constructed in the 1770s)

In the post-Soviet countries, orphanages are better known as the Children Homes (Russian: Детскиe домa). After reaching school age, all children enroll into internat-schools (Russian: Школа-интернат) (see Boarding school).


Over 700,000 orphans live in Russia, increasing at the rate of 113,000 per year. UNICEF estimates that 95% of these children are social orphans, meaning that they have at least one living parent who has given them up to the state. [13][80][81][82] There are many web pages for Russian orphanages, but very few of them are in English, such as St Nicholas Orphanage in Siberia or the Alapaevsk orphanage in the Urals. "Of a total of more than 600,000 children classified as being 'without parental care' (most of them live with other relatives and fosters), as many as one-third reside in institutions."[83]


"Many children are abandoned due to extreme poverty and harsh living conditions. Family members or neighbors may raise some of these children but the majority live in crowded orphanages until the age of fifteen when they are sent into the community to make a living for themselves."[84]


Approximate total – 1,773 (1993 statistics for "all types of orphanages")


Partial information: 85 – Ivanovka Orphanage[85]


"No one can be sure how many lone children are there in the republic. About 9,000 are in internats and in orphanages."[86]



Other information:

  • thousands – Zaporozhzhya region[88]
  • 150 – Kiev State Baby Orphanage[89]
  • 30 – Beregena Orphanage
  • 120 – Dom Invalid Orphanage[90]


Partial Information: 80 – Takhtakupar Orphanage



No verifiable information for the number of children actually in orphanages. The number of orphaned and abandoned children is approximately 91,000. "Convention on the Rights of the Child" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2007-11-29. http://web.archive.org/web/20071129174720/ Retrieved 2007-11-12. 


Orphans, children (0–17 years) orphaned due to all causes, 2005, estimate 25,000 "Unicef Fiji Statistics". http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/fiji_statistics.html. 

North America & Caribbean


Haitians and expatriate childcare professionals are careful to make it clear that Haitian orphanages and children's homes are not orphanages in the North American sense, but instead shelters for vulnerable children, often housing children whose parent(s) are poor as well as those who are abandoned, neglected or abused by family guardians. Neither the number of children or the number of institutions is officially known, but Chambre de L'Enfance Necessiteusse Ha_tienne (CENH) indicated that it has received requests for assistance from nearly 200 orphanages from around the country for more than 200,000 children. Although not all are orphans, many are vulnerable or originate in vulnerable families that "hoped to increase their children's opportunities by sending them to orphanages." Catholic Relief Services provides assistance to 120 orphanages with 9,000 children in the West, South, Southeast and Grand Anse, but these include only orphanages that meet their criteria. They estimate receiving ten requests per week for assistance from additional orphanages and children's homes, but some of these are repeat requests."[91]

In 2007, UNICEF estimated there were 380,000 orphans in Haiti, which has a population of just over 9 million, according to the CIA World Factbook. However, since the January 2010 earthquake, the number of orphans has skyrocketed, and the living conditions for orphans have seriously deteriorated. Official numbers are hard to find due to the general state of chaos in the country.[92]


"...at least 10,000 Mexican children live in orphanages and more live in unregistered charity homes"

United States

The size of orphanages has declined over time, with many organizations preferring smaller "group home" sizes. Most organizations provide a range of services to families in crisis, including mental health care, foster care, and institutional placements.

Orphanages were relatively common until the end of the 20th century, and multiple retrospective studies indicate that the former residents have higher than average educational outcomes and generally positive memories.[10] Only 3% of former residents feel hostile towards the orphanages they were placed in.[10]

In the State of New York, slightly more than half of children in need of care are placed in foster care with strangers. About one quarter are placed with relatives. Approximately one sixth are placed in orphanages, group homes, or other types of institutional care.[93]

Partial information:

  • Bethesda Home for Boys, in Savannah, Georgia, is the oldest child caring institution in the country. In fact, founded in 1740, it is older than the country itself and was a site frequently visited by many of the country’s founding fathers. Benjamin Franklin was an early investor and Bethesda was constituted by a grant from King George with the encouragement of Charles and John Wesley.
  • Established in 1790, the Charleston Orphan House, now called the Carolina Youth Development Center, located in Charleston, SC, was the first public orphanage in the United States.[94]
  • Happy Hills Farm in Texas[10]
  • The Crossnore School, in the mountains of Crossnore, North Carolina[10]

Central and South America

In a Colombian orphanage, a nurse takes care of three children.


"...currently there are about 20,000 children in orphanages."[95]


Casa Hoger Lamedas Pampa, in Huanaco

Significant charities that help orphans

Prior to the establishment of state care for orphans in First World countries, many private charities existed to take care of destitute orphans, over time other charities have found other ways to care for children.

  • Hope and Homes for Children are working with Governments in many countries to deinstitutionalise their child care systems.
  • SOS Children's Villages is the world's largest non-governmental, non-denominational child welfare organization that still believes in building orphanages for children.
  • Dr Barnardo's Homes (now simply Barnardo's)
  • The Miracle Foundation is concerned with helping orphans in India.
  • ACTUP! is a student run charity set up in aid of an orphanage in the Vinh province, Vietnam. The group raises money through theatrical performances and movie screenings.

See also


  1. ^ a b "How to fix orphanages". The Spectator. UK. 8 October 2011. http://www.spectator.co.uk/essays/all/7289558/how-to-fix-orphanages.thtml. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  2. ^ Little Princes, Conor Grennan
  3. ^ "Online library : Save the Children UK". Savethechildren.org.uk. http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/en/54_9678.htm. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  4. ^ "Online library : Save the Children UK". Savethechildren.org.uk. http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/en/54_9173.htm. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  5. ^ "Young Children in Institutional Care at Risk of Harm". Tva.sagepub.com. 1 January 2006. http://tva.sagepub.com/content/7/1/34.abstract. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  6. ^ http://www.unicef.bg/public/images/tinybrowser/upload/PPT%20BEIP%20Group%20for%20website.pdf
  7. ^ "Online library : Save the Children UK". Savethechildren.org.uk. http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/en/54_9678.htm. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  8. ^ Paul Lewis in Tirana. "Three British evangelicals cast blame on each other in trials over child abuse at Albanian orphanage | Society". The Guardian. UK. http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/oct/27/tirana-orphanage-child-abuse-trial?INTCMP=SRCH. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
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