Orphan Care

Four Reasons Foster Care is Better Than Residential Care

foster care
The Case for Foster Care vs. Residential Care
There are four basic reasons foster care is a better option than residential care for orphans. These include:
. More personalized care
. Better opportunities for education
. No regimentation or institutionalization
. Greater advantages for adoption or return to parental custody

Foster Care Provides More Personalized Care
Caring for orphans in foster families allows each child the advantage of foster parent care with direct focus. Foster families are carefully reviewed and monitored by state agencies to insure that orphaned children are safe and flourish.  This has been well-known in the United States and Canada for quite some time, and we’re now starting to see the benefits in other countries such as Guatemala, Honduras and certain countries in Africa.

Orphanages are often run by charity organizations who hire staff based on prior experience working with children in large groups. Rarely can orphanages offer individual care for each child, given the limited number of staff. Ref: http://www.childrenwebmag.com/foster-care/the-ideology-of-residential-care-and-fostering.

Better Opportunities for Education
Children in foster care are more closely guided by foster parents who take on the responsibility of quality education. Foster parents may choose the type of school best suited to the specific needs of the child.

Orphanages generally have onsite educators and set the style of curriculum based on basic state certification and, in certain cases, charitable affiliations or religious beliefs. With foster parents closely monitoring foster children’s education, they can be encouraged to further their education.

No Regimentation or Institutionalization
In large groups in residential care, it’s necessary to maintain order. This is usually the reason for regimentation of daily care and education. Regimentation in residential care may result in feelings of institutionalization.

Children in foster care experience no regimentation and no feelings of institutionalization, due to a freer home atmosphere. It’s difficult in residential care to provide personal privacy, freedom and choice. Choices of the curriculum and functioning system is implemented by residential care facilities’ leadership. Children who have lived in residential care facilities often feel bonded to the large entity of the institution, making it harder for them to feel independent later in their adolescent years and their adult lives. Ref: http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp/downloads/information_packets/adolescents_in_residential_treatment_and_foster_care-pkt.pdf.

Greater Advantages for Adoption or Return to Parental Custody
Foster children live in the hope that they will be returned to their parents and feel that foster parents are just their short-term security. This hope arises from the natural biological ties between parents and children. In cases where the foster child cannot be returned to their biological parents, foster parents are their greatest asset for adoption, either by the foster parents or other qualified adults.

Children in residential care often “age out” of the residential care facility before they are adopted. This is particularly true of children abandoned by parents after infancy. Foster parents often bond with a foster child and have the ability to petition for adoption. In residential care, the children are most likely to bond with the overall institution and rarely are adopted. Statistics bear this out. Ref: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/research-data-technology/statistics-research/afcars.

The Advantage of Foster Children
Security and safety are two of the most important features that children require, and they can find this in foster care. Today’s orphan care professionals are highly educated and thoroughly vetted by state and local agencies. They place security and safety of the children in their care as their first priority.

3 Proven Strategies to Improve the Quality of Orphan Care

Two Hands

Two Hands

You certainly know that they’re somewhere out there, may be far across the wide oceans, or perhaps just in your own backyards. These are small babies, toddlers and teenagers who have been left to fend for themselves for whatever reasons. They are the millions of orphans who are moving through lives at the complete mercy of those who are currently in charge of their welfare in a foster care home or orphanage.

Out of the estimated 132 million children who are classified as orphans globally, only about 13 million have actually lost both their parents. Data from UNICEF indicates that the vast numbers of orphans are currently living with one surviving parent, a grandparent, or some other member of the larger family member.

Below are three strategies that are increasingly proving to be very effective towards improving the level and quality of orphan care globally.

Adopting a Child Virtually

Embracing orphan care as the collective responsibility of everybody has been shown to impact positively on the level of care accorded to orphans. Of course not everyone should or can adopt an orphan physically; but everybody can contribute to the care of such children. Giving has been shown to help the giver loosen their grip on excessive materialism and to appreciate the tragic plight of orphans.

You can begin by visiting websites that usually list “waiting children” from where you can pick out one needy child to be your own. Inform everybody in your circles about your newly adopted child and about how they could chip in to bless that child. Write about your cause on Twitter, Facebook or your blog. It is possible to directly support the needs of that child or simply send your help or items to the orphanage or foster care home where that child is being cared for.

Adopting a Family That Adopts a Child

Families that adopt a child could really use all the support they can get. You could write about them, leave comments that encourage them on their adoption blog or help them in terms of raising funds. You would, in a special way also be ‘adopting’ that family that is brave and kind enough to adopt a child.

A study undertaken in 4 rural Chinese orphanages between 2006 and 2007 found that those children who received support and care that is family-based reported the most outstanding scores on all psychological tests measures. This kind of support and care also contributes to family preservation.

Supporting those who work with orphans

Currently, only a small number of big global charities continue funding orphanages and foster care homes although many small charities as well as religious groups are holding on. It is for this reason that ministries and organizations working towards keeping orphans taken care of are in dire need of your support.

The majority of children get separated from their natural parents as a result of poverty, disease or natural disasters. By supporting those who are working with children projects, you would be contributing towards the promotion of family preservation and better orphan care.

Bottom Line

The matter of child care and development needs a holistic approach where everybody plays a role. With the individual input of every caring person, the plight of the orphan child can be greatly mitigated. Each strategy must focus the unique physical, emotional, spiritual, cognitive and developmental needs of each child.