An orphanage is a residential institution
Residential education
Residential Education, broadly defined, is a pre-college education provided in an environment where students both live and learn outside of their family homes. Varied forms of residential education have been in existence in the United States since before the nation's founding...

 devoted to the care
Child care means caring for and supervising child/children usually from 0–13 years of age. In the United States child care is increasingly referred to as early childhood education due to the understanding of the impact of early experiences of the developing child...

 of orphan
An orphan is a child permanently bereaved of or abandoned by his or her parents. In common usage, only a child who has lost both parents is called an orphan...

s – 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

In some places, orphanages are slowly being phased out in many countries in favour of direct support to vulnerable children, foster care
Foster care
Foster care is the term used for a system in which a minor who has been made a ward is placed in the private home of a state certified caregiver referred to as a "foster parent"....

 or adoption
Adoption is a process whereby a person assumes the parenting for another and, in so doing, permanently transfers all rights and responsibilities from the original parent or parents...

. Few large international charities continue to fund them, however they are still commonly founded by smaller charities and religious groups.

Other residential institutions for children can be called group home
Group home
A group home is a private residence designed or converted to serve as a non-secure home for unrelated persons who share a common characteristic.-Types of group homes:...

, children's home, rehabilitation center or youth treatment center.

Comparison to alternatives

During the 20th century, conventional wisdom
Conventional wisdom
Conventional wisdom is a term used to describe ideas or explanations that are generally accepted as true by the public or by experts in a field. Such ideas or explanations, though widely held, are unexamined. Unqualified societal discourse preserves the status quo. It codifies existing social...

 held that orphanages, especially large orphanages, were the worst possible care option for children. In large institutions, babies may not receive enough eye contact, physical contact, and stimulation to promote proper physical, social or cognitive development. In the worst cases, orphanages can be dangerous and unregulated places where children are subject to abuse and neglect.

However, researchers from Duke University
Duke University
Duke University is a private research university located in Durham, North Carolina, United States. Founded by Methodists and Quakers in the present day town of Trinity in 1838, the school moved to Durham in 1892. In 1924, tobacco industrialist James B...

 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. 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. 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.

Whereas orphanages are intended to be reasonably permanent placements, group homes may be used for short-term placements. They may be residential treatment center
Residential treatment center
A residential treatment center , sometimes called a rehab, is a live-in health care facility providing therapy for substance abuse, mental illness, or other behavioral problems...

s, and they frequently specialize in a particular population with psychiatric or behavioral problems, e.g., a group home for children and teens with autism
Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. These signs all begin before a child is three years old. Autism affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their...

, eating disorder
Eating disorder
Eating disorders refer to a group of conditions defined by abnormal eating habits that may involve either insufficient or excessive food intake to the detriment of an individual's physical and mental health. Bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, and binge eating disorder are the most common specific...

s, or substance abuse
Substance abuse
A substance-related disorder is an umbrella term used to describe several different conditions associated with several different substances .A substance related disorder is a condition in which an individual uses or abuses a...

 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.


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 such as mother and baby units and day care centres.


The first orphanages, called "orphanotrophia", were founded in the 1st century amid various alternative means of orphan support. Jewish law
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

, for instance, prescribed care for the widow and the orphan, and Athenian law
History of Athens
Athens is one of the oldest named cities in the world, having been continuously inhabited for at least 7000 years. Situated in southern Europe, Athens became the leading city of Ancient Greece in the first millennium BCE and its cultural achievements during the 5th century BCE laid the foundations...

 supported all orphans of those killed in military service
Military service
Military service, in its simplest sense, is service by an individual or group in an army or other militia, whether as a chosen job or as a result of an involuntary draft . Some nations require a specific amount of military service from every citizen...

 until the age of eighteen
Age of majority
The age of majority is the threshold of adulthood as it is conceptualized in law. It is the chronological moment when minors cease to legally be considered children and assume control over their persons, actions, and decisions, thereby terminating the legal control and legal responsibilities of...

. 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." The care of orphans was referred to bishops and, during the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, to monasteries
Monastery denotes the building, or complex of buildings, that houses a room reserved for prayer as well as the domestic quarters and workplace of monastics, whether monks or nuns, and whether living in community or alone .Monasteries may vary greatly in size – a small dwelling accommodating only...

. Many orphanages practiced some form of "binding-out" in which children, as soon as they were old enough, were given as apprentices
Apprenticeship is a system of training a new generation of practitioners of a skill. Apprentices or protégés build their careers from apprenticeships...

 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
Social security
Social security is primarily a social insurance program providing social protection or protection against socially recognized conditions, including poverty, old age, disability, unemployment and others. Social security may refer to:...

 such as the Social Security Act which allowed Aid to Dependent Children (ADC
Aid to Families with Dependent Children
Aid to Families with Dependent Children was a federal assistance program in effect from 1935 to 1996, which was administered by the United States Department of Health and Human Services...

) 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
Georgia Tann
Georgia Tann, born Beulah George Tann , operated the Tennessee Children's Home Society, an adoption agency in Memphis, Tennessee. Tann used the unlicensed home as a front for her black market baby adoption scheme from the 1920s until a state investigation closed the institution in 1950...

's Tennessee Children's Home Society
Tennessee Children's Home Society
Tennessee Children's Home Society was an orphanage operated in the state of Tennessee during the first half of the twentieth century, and is most often associated with its Memphis branch operator Georgia Tann as an organization involved with the kidnapping of children and their illegal adoptions....

), 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
Romanian orphans
The standard of living for Romanian orphans is still grave despite vast improvements since their conditions were leaked to the West after the fall of the Communist government in 1989...

 to meet conditions of its entry into the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

. In the United States, the largest remaining orphanage is the Bethesda Orphanage
Bethesda Orphanage
Bethesda Academy is a boys orphanage and school located in unincorporated Chatham County, Georgia, USA, near Savannah....

, founded in 1740 by George Whitefield
George Whitefield
George Whitefield , also known as George Whitfield, was an English Anglican priest who helped spread the Great Awakening in Britain, and especially in the British North American colonies. He was one of the founders of Methodism and of the evangelical movement generally...


In many works of fiction (notably Oliver Twist
Oliver Twist
Oliver Twist; or, The Parish Boy's Progress is the second novel by English author Charles Dickens, published by Richard Bentley in 1838. The story is about an orphan Oliver Twist, who endures a miserable existence in a workhouse and then is placed with an undertaker. He escapes and travels to...

and Annie
Annie (musical)
Annie is a Broadway musical based upon the popular Harold Gray comic strip Little Orphan Annie, with music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and the book by Thomas Meehan. The original Broadway production opened in 1977 and ran for nearly six years with a blonde Annie as the poster...

), 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 or orphanages as a front to get foreigners to pay school fees of orphanage director's extended families. 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. The worst even sell children. 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.. This also happens in China. 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'.


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


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".

There are living 7000 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.

United Kingdom

During the Victorian Era
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

, 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
Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy . Opium contains up to 12% morphine, an alkaloid, which is frequently processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade. The latex also includes codeine and non-narcotic alkaloids such as papaverine, thebaine and noscapine...

 and treacle
Treacle is any syrup made during the refining of sugar and is defined as "uncrystallized syrup produced in refining sugar". Treacle is used chiefly in cooking as a form of sweetener or condiment....

, to soothe colic
Colic is a form of pain which starts and stops abruptly. Types include:*Baby colic, a condition, usually in infants, characterized by incessant crying*Renal colic, a pain in the flank, characteristic of kidney stones...

 in babies.

Many orphaned children were placed in either prisons or the workhouse
In England and Wales a workhouse, colloquially known as a spike, was a place where those unable to support themselves were offered accommodation and employment...

, 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
Votes are a people of Votia in Ingria, the part of modern day northwestern Russia that is roughly southwest of Saint Petersburg and east of the Estonian border-town of Narva. Their own ethnic name is Vadjalain . The Finnic Votic language spoken by Votes is close to extinction. Votians were one of...

 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
Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...

1800 St Elizabeth's Orphanage of Mercy Eastcombe, Glos
1813 London Asylum for Orphans Hackney, London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

Rev Andrew Reed
1822 Female Orphan Asylum Brighton Francois de Rosaz
1827 Infant Orphan Asylum Wanstead
Wanstead is a suburban area in the London Borough of Redbridge, North-East London. The main road going through Wanstead is the A12. The name is from the Anglo-Saxon words wænn and stede, meaning "settlement on a small hill"....

Rev Andrew Reed
1829 Sailor Orphan Girls School London
1836 Ashley Down orphanage
New Orphan Houses, Ashley Down, Bristol
The New Orphan Houses, Ashley Down, commonly known as the Muller Homes, were an orphanage in the district of Ashley Down, in the north of Bristol. They were built between 1849 and 1870 by the Prussian evangelist George Müller to show the world that God not only heard, but answered, prayer...

Bristol George Müller
George Müller
George Müller , a Christian evangelist and Director of the Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol, England, cared for 10,024 orphans in his life...

1844 Asylum for Fatherless Children Purley
- in England :*Purley, London**Purley Way, out-of-town retail area*Purley-on-Thames, in Berkshire- People :*David Purley , British race driver*Purley, several members of a fictional family in 1996's Secrets & Lies...

Rev Andrew Reed
1854 Wolverhampton Orphan Asylum Goldthorn Hill, Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands, England. For Eurostat purposes Walsall and Wolverhampton is a NUTS 3 region and is one of five boroughs or unitary districts that comprise the "West Midlands" NUTS 2 region...

John Lees
1856 Wiltshire Reformatory Warminster
Warminster is a town in western Wiltshire, England, by-passed by the A36, and near Frome and Westbury. It has a population of about 17,000. The River Were runs through the town and can be seen running through the middle of the town park. The Minster Church of St Denys sits on the River Were...

1860 Major Street Ragged Schools Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

Canon Thomas Major Lester
1861 St. Philip Neri's orphanage for boys Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

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
Whitechapel is a built-up inner city district in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, London, England. It is located east of Charing Cross and roughly bounded by the Bishopsgate thoroughfare on the west, Fashion Street on the north, Brady Street and Cavell Street on the east and The Highway on the...

, 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
Swansea is a coastal city and county in Wales. Swansea is in the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan. Situated on the sandy South West Wales coast, the county area includes the Gower Peninsula and the Lliw uplands...

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
-Places:* Two villages in the United Kingdom:**Bisley, Surrey**Bisley, Gloucestershire*Bisley Ranges is near the Surrey village and is the headquarters of the National Rifle Association, UK -Others:...

1868 Royal Albert Orphanage Worcester
The City of Worcester, commonly known as Worcester, , is a city and county town of Worcestershire in the West Midlands of England. Worcester is situated some southwest of Birmingham and north of Gloucester, and has an approximate population of 94,000 people. The River Severn runs through the...

1868 Worcester Orphan Asylum Worcester
1869 Ely Deaconesses Orphanage Bedford
Bedford is the county town of Bedfordshire, in the East of England. It is a large town and the administrative centre for the wider Borough of Bedford. According to the former Bedfordshire County Council's estimates, the town had a population of 79,190 in mid 2005, with 19,720 in the adjacent town...

Rev TB Stevenson
1869 Orphanage and Almshouses Erdington
Erdington is a suburb northeast of Birmingham city centre, England and bordering Sutton Coldfield. It is also a council constituency, managed by its own district committee...

Josiah Mason
1869 The Neglected Children of Exeter Exeter
Exeter is a historic city in Devon, England. It lies within the ceremonial county of Devon, of which it is the county town as well as the home of Devon County Council. Currently the administrative area has the status of a non-metropolitan district, and is therefore under the administration of the...

1869 Alexandra Orphanage for Infants Hornsey Rise, London
1869 Stockwell Orphanage London Charles Spurgeon
Charles Spurgeon
Charles Haddon Spurgeon was a large British Particular Baptist preacher who remains highly influential among Christians of different denominations, among whom he is still known as the "Prince of Preachers"...

1869 New Orphan Asylum Upper Henwick, Worcs
1869 Wesleyan Methodist National Children's Homes various Rev Thomas Bowman Stephenson
1869 London Orphan Asylum Watford
Watford is a town and borough in Hertfordshire, England, situated northwest of central London and within the bounds of the M25 motorway. The borough is separated from Greater London to the south by the urbanised parish of Watford Rural in the Three Rivers District.Watford was created as an urban...

1870 Fegans Homes London James William Condell Fegan
1870 Manchester and Salford Boys' and Girls' Refuge Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

1871 Wigmore West Bromwich and Walsall WJ Gilpin
1872 Middlemore Home Edgbaston
Edgbaston is an area in the city of Birmingham in England. It is also a formal district, managed by its own district committee. The constituency includes the smaller Edgbaston ward and the wards of Bartley Green, Harborne and Quinton....

Dr John T. Middlemore
1872 St Theresa Roman Catholic Orphanage for Girls Plymouth
Plymouth is a city and unitary authority area on the coast of Devon, England, about south-west of London. It is built between the mouths of the rivers Plym to the east and Tamar to the west, where they join Plymouth Sound...

1873 Ryelands Road Leominster
1874 Cottage Homes for Children West Derby
West Derby
West Derby is a suburb in the north of Liverpool, Merseyside, England. It is also a Liverpool City Council ward. At the 2001 Census, the population of the ward was 14,801 .-History:...

Mrs Nassau Senior
1875 Aberlour Orphanage Aberlour
Aberlour , is the name of a place in Moray, Scotland, 12 miles south of Elgin on the road to Grantown. A burn , a tributary of the River Spey, and surrounding parish, are both named Aberlour, but the name is most commonly used in reference to the village which straddles the stream and flanks the...

, Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

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
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

 Childrens Protection Society
1881 Dorset
Dorset , is a county in South West England on the English Channel coast. The county town is Dorchester which is situated in the south. The Hampshire towns of Bournemouth and Christchurch joined the county with the reorganisation of local government in 1974...

 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
A home is a place of residence or refuge. When it refers to a building, it is usually a place in which an individual or a family can rest and store personal property. Most modern-day households contain sanitary facilities and a means of preparing food. Animals have their own homes as well, either...

South Street. London Road, Southwark, London
1882 St Michael's Home for Friendless Girls Salisbury
Salisbury is a cathedral city in Wiltshire, England and the only city in the county. It is the second largest settlement in the county...

1890 St Saviour's Home Shrewsbury
Shrewsbury is the county town of Shropshire, in the West Midlands region of England. Lying on the River Severn, it is a civil parish home to some 70,000 inhabitants, and is the primary settlement and headquarters of Shropshire Council...

1890 Orphanage of Pity
Pity originally means feeling for others, particularly feelings of sadness or sorrow, and was once used in a comparable sense to the more modern words "sympathy" and "empathy"...

Warminster is a town in western Wiltshire, England, by-passed by the A36, and near Frome and Westbury. It has a population of about 17,000. The River Were runs through the town and can be seen running through the middle of the town park. The Minster Church of St Denys sits on the River Were...

1890 Wolverhampton Union Cottage homes Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands, England. For Eurostat purposes Walsall and Wolverhampton is a NUTS 3 region and is one of five boroughs or unitary districts that comprise the "West Midlands" NUTS 2 region...

1892 Calthorpe Home For Girls Handsworth, Birmingham
1918 Painswick Orphanage Painswick
Painswick is a small town in Gloucestershire, England. Originally the town grew on the wool trade, but it is now best known for its parish church's yew trees and the local Rococo Garden. The town is mainly constructed of locally quarried Cotswold stone...

unknown Clio Boys' Home Liverpool
unknown St Philip's Orphanage, (RC Institution for Poor Orphan Children) Brompton, Kensington
Kensington is a district of west and central London, England within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. An affluent and densely-populated area, its commercial heart is Kensington High Street, and it contains the well-known museum district of South Kensington.To the north, Kensington is...


As of 2009, there are 35 orphanages, which houses approximately 1300 orphaned children.


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.


In Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

 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.


Children's rights enjoys a relatively strong protection in Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

. 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.

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.


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

According to Baroness Emma Nicholson, in some counties Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

 now has "a completely new, world class, state of the art, child health development policy." But several Dickensian orphanages remain in Romania.

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.

As of 2011, there are 10,833 orphaned children in 256 large institutions in Romania.
# year Total children in care of the state. Number of children in orphanages
1. 1990 47,405 25,870
2. 1994 52,986
3. 1997 51,468 39,569
4. 1998 55,641 38,597
5. 1999 57,087 33,356
6. 2000 87,753 57,181
7. 2001 87,889 57,060
8. 2002 87,867 49,965
9. 2003 86,379 43,092
10. 2004 84,445 37,660
11. 2005 83,059 32,821
12. 2006 78,766 28,786
13. 2007 73,793 26,599
14. 2008 71,047 24,979
15. 2009 68,858 24,227
16. 2010 62,000 19,000
17. 2011 50,000 10,833


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.


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.


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.

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."


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.


Out of 400,000 orphans, 5,000 are living in orphanages. 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


"Currently, there are 52 orphanages in Tanzania caring for about 3,000 orphans and vulnerable children." 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
AIDS orphan
An AIDS orphan is a child who became an orphan because one or both parents died from AIDS.In statistics from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS , the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund , the term is used for a child whose mother has died due to AIDS before...

. 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.

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


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.)


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

Sierra Leone

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


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


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


"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." The non-governmental organisation Mahboba's promise
Mahboba's promise
Mahboba's Promise is an Australian non-profit organisation dedicated to helping the women and the large number of orphaned children of Afghanistan. It is one of the few non-governmental organisations operational in that war-torn nation entirely funded by private donations and currently looks after...

 assists orphans in contemporary Afghanistan.


"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


Orphans, Children (0–17 years) orphaned due to all causes, 2010, estimate 51


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."


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. 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."
"Official figures show that fewer than 20,000 of China's orphans are now in any form of institutional care."
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. 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. 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.


"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


The "Royal Charity Organization" is a Bahraini governmental charity organization founded in 2001 by King Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifah
Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifah
King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa is the King of Bahrain , having previously been its Emir . He is the son of Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the previous Emir.-Early life and education:...

 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
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

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
Boarding school
A boarding school is a school where some or all pupils study and live during the school year with their fellow students and possibly teachers and/or administrators. The word 'boarding' is used in the sense of "bed and board," i.e., lodging and meals...



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.
http://www.rcws.org/aboutus_statistics.htm There are many web pages for Russian orphanages, but very few of them are in English, such as St Nicholas Orphanage in Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

 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."


"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."


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



Other information:
  • thousands – Zaporozhzhya region
  • 150 – Kiev State Baby Orphanage
  • 30 – Beregena Orphanage
  • 120 – Dom Invalid Orphanage


No verifiable information for the number of children actually in orphanages. The number of orphaned and abandoned children is approximately 91,000.


Orphans, children (0–17 years) orphaned due to all causes, 2005, estimate 25,000


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."

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.


"...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. Only 3% of former residents feel hostile towards the orphanages they were placed in.

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.

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.
  • Happy Hills Farm in Texas
  • The Crossnore School, in the mountains of Crossnore, North Carolina
    Crossnore, North Carolina
    Crossnore is a town in Avery County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 242 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Crossnore is located at ....

Central and South America

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
    Hope and Homes for Children
    Hope and Homes for Children is a British registered charity working with children, their families and communities across 10 countries in Eastern Europe and Africa. to help children grow up in safe and productive environments...

     are working with Governments in many countries to deinstitutionalise their child care systems.
  • SOS Children's Villages
    SOS Children's Villages
    SOS Children's Villages is an independent, non-governmental international development organisation which has been working to meet the needs and protect the interests and rights of children since 1949. It was founded by Hermann Gmeiner in Imst, Austria...

     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
    Barnardo's is a British charity founded by Thomas John Barnardo in 1866, to care for vulnerable children and young people. As of 2010, it spends over £190 million each year on more than 400 local services aimed at helping these same groups...

  • The Miracle Foundation
    The Miracle Foundation
    The Miracle Foundation is a 501, non-profit organization founded in 2000, focused on empowering orphans in India to reach their full potential, one child at a time. By creating a family-style living environment for each of the 500 orphans currently in their care, this secular organization goes...

     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

  • Deinstitutionalisation
  • Adoption
    Adoption is a process whereby a person assumes the parenting for another and, in so doing, permanently transfers all rights and responsibilities from the original parent or parents...

  • Boys Town (organization)
  • Community-based care
    Community-based care
    Community-based care serves as a "bridge" between orphanage and settlement house. Adolescents are placed in a family in their community. The guardians will provide individual care and nurture in the context of a family and community. This teaches adolescents more independence...

  • Settlement movement
    Settlement movement
    The settlement movement was a reformist social movement, beginning in the 1880s and peaking around the 1920s in England and the US, with a goal of getting the rich and poor in society to live more closely together in an interdependent community...

  • Residential education
    Residential education
    Residential Education, broadly defined, is a pre-college education provided in an environment where students both live and learn outside of their family homes. Varied forms of residential education have been in existence in the United States since before the nation's founding...

  • Hope and Homes for Children
    Hope and Homes for Children
    Hope and Homes for Children is a British registered charity working with children, their families and communities across 10 countries in Eastern Europe and Africa. to help children grow up in safe and productive environments...

  • Whole Child International
    Whole Child International
    Whole Child International is a U.S.-based non-governmental organization founded in 2004. Whole Child focuses on improving the quality of care for vulnerable children worldwide by working within childcare institutions and orphanages....

External links

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