Why Are Children in Orphanages and Other Institutions? - Lumos Skip to page content

Why Are Children in Orphanages and Other Institutions?

Children belong in families,
not orphanages

Perhaps surprisingly, most children in orphanages have families who love and want them, but are born into poverty, or with a disability, in a place where families have little or no support.

With access to health and social care, it is hard to imagine making the decision to place your child in an orphanage or institution. But for many families, there is no choice. 

At Lumos, we have found that extreme poverty is the main reason children are placed in orphanages.

Circumstances such as war or natural disaster, discrimination or disability compound the problem and force desperately poor parents to seek help. Without support, the only option they have is to put their child in an orphanage.

Orphanages take children out of poor families with the promise of education or healthcare that their parents can’t access – or feel they are unable to give.

When you are struggling to feed your family, the burden of having to travel to access the right healthcare or education for your child seems impossible. With a lack of local infrastructure and support, it often is.

Sadly, the reality is that even in orphanages, children can be neglected and exposed to serious abuse and harm. They are often traumatised by their experiences. 

This all means that many children end up institutionalised for life.

But this shocking global problem has an affordable solution.

With support, most families could care for their children. And children without families can be looked after in foster or adoptive families, or in small group homes.

Stories from Families Lumos Has Helped