Keeping children out of harmful institutions

Keeping children out of harmful institutions

“One of the punishments was rolling along the ground until you threw up – you’re not allowed to stop,” said Ali, 17, about the seven years he spent in a children’s home in Maluku, Indonesia. “I was hit in the stomach as well. I had to hold my breath so as not to be sick.”

Our experience shows that it’s nearly always better for children to live in a family set-up, rather than in an institution like an orphanage. Institutional care can cause real damage to children’s physical, cognitive and emotional development, and may inflict further abuse and neglect.

Where it’s not possible for children to live with their parents or relatives, our experience shows the best alternatives are for them to be fostered or adopted.

At the moment these options don’t always exist. In Indonesia, for example, up to half a million children are growing up in residential care. We’re working with the Ministry of Social Affairs to raise standards while better alternatives are developed. 

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