Global Journalist: Orphanage Growth Draws Scrutiny

Apr 5, 2018

Credit AP Photo

The use of orphanages fell out of favor in the U.S. around World War II, and the institutions were largely replaced by the foster care system.

But in parts of Asia and Africa, the number of orphanages has actually risen in recent decades – spurred in part by the death toll from conflict and HIV/AIDS. Many of these institutions are privately owned or run by non-profits and receive no government money. Instead, they are funded entirely by donations.

The growth has led to criticism by some child advocates. They argue that most children would be better off living with relatives or others. They also worry that in some countries the growth in orphanages has been spurred in part by adults looking to pad their own pockets by capitalizing on tourists willing to pay to volunteer at childrens’ homes.

On this edition of Global Journalist, a look at the debate around institutional child care in developing countries and what might be perpetuating the problem of overseas orphanage scams.


Joining the program:

    • Michelle Oliel, executive director, The Stahili Foundation, The Hague
    • Arlene Brown, founder of Urukundo Children's Home in Rwanda
    • James Sutherland, communications coordinator of Friends International in Phnom Penh, Campodia
    • Leigh Mathews, a consultant for Alto Global Consulting, Melbourne

Assistant producers: Blythe Nebeker, Taylor Campbell
Supervising producer: Lauren Wortman
Visual editor: Jiwon Choi