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Secretary of State for International Development commits to family-based care

Children belong in families,
not orphanages
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Secretary of State for International Development commits to family-based care

Speaking at the Global Disability Summit in London today, Penny Mordaunt, Secretary of State for International Development, said:

“Orphanages are harmful to children and it is often those with disabilities who are placed in them the most. This needs to end, which is why I’m committed to the long-term plan to ensure all children grow up with a family of their own.” 

Penny Mordaunt signing the introduction to her speech. Picture: Michael Hughes/DFID
Penny Mordaunt signing the introduction to her speech. Picture: Michael Hughes/DFID

In response, Georgette Mulheir, CEO of Lumos, J.K. Rowling’s international children’s organisation, said:

“Children with disabilities are at a far higher risk of being trapped in orphanages than other children, and they are more likely to experience neglect, abuse and early death once institutionalised. Moreover, for children with disabilities this is a life sentence - even into adulthood, they never leave the walls of the institution.”

“DfID’s commitment to promote family and community-based care for all children, with a focus on those with disabilities, reinforces their role as a global development leader. We hope that other governments, the private sector and individual donors will follow the lead shown by DfID so that the cruel and damaging orphanage system is consigned to the pages of history.”

There are more than 8 million children trapped in orphanages globally and over eighty per cent have at least one living parent who could care for them at home, given the right support. Eighty years of research has proven that orphanages hurt children. They negatively affect a child’s health and development and increase their exposure to abuse and trafficking.