On Orphan Sunday, November 8th, churches and congregations across the United States and the world will join in prayer and support for the world’s orphans, including the estimated 8 million children growing up in orphanages and other residential institutions.
The Orphan Sunday campaign is led by the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO), a “US coalition of organizations and churches committed to the Gospel and the orphan,” according to its web site. CAFO includes more than 100organizations, and their members hold thousands of Orphan Sunday events worldwide each year.
These events reflect the genuine compassion and concern of the members of faith-based organizations for children living outside of family care.
But more than 80 years of research has shown that children raised in institutional care do not get the same love and close adult attention as children in families, often experience abuse, neglect, lack of stimulation, and toxic stress, and are at great risk of harm to their physical, emotional, and intellectual development.
At a time when the number of orphanages is on the rise, the role of Christian groups, churches, and individuals in promoting best practice and building the capacity of families to care for their children is critical to efforts to help orphans and impoverished children everywhere.
We commend all who observe Orphan Sunday and work every day to preserve families, prevent parent-child separation, and ensure the essential adult nurturing that every child needs.
To mark Orphan Sunday, Lumos has released audio excerpts from an animated film narrated by its founder, author J.K. Rowling. Her words deliver an impassioned plea to help return the world’s infants, children and youth who have been separated from family by conflict, disaster, disease, discrimination or extreme poverty back to loving family care.