Every child has a right to a family. Under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, every child has the right to be with their family and to be reunited with them if separated. For children without families, family-based solutions are the best alternatives to orphanages.
No child should live in an orphanage or children’s home on a permanent basis. Under international law and the UN Guidelines on the Alternative Care of Children, orphanages and other forms of residential care institutions should be places of last resort. In reality, children often end up spending their entire childhood in such institutions. Decades of research make it clear that growing up in an orphanage can be harmful to a child’s development.
The majority of “orphans” are not actually orphans at all. Most children (at least 80%) living in orphanages have either one or both living parents or a close relative who could care for them. In our experience at Stahili, the overwhelming majority of children who are known as “double orphans” (i.e. children who have lost both parents) have extended family who could care for them but are too poor to do so