Help Kids This Giving Season: Don’t Give to Orphanages

In this piece for the Huffington Post, Dr. Shannon Senefeld, Senior Vice President for Overseas Operations at Catholic Relief Services, makes a case explaining why donors (particularly those from the U.S.) should not donate their money to orphanages.

"Because all research shows that kids are much, much better off in families than in institutions," writes Senefeld. "And the data shows that most children in orphanages aren’t even orphans. Some 80 to 90 percent of these children have a living parent. They are institutionalized because of reasons like poverty and disabilities." 

The author highlighted the results of some recent polling from a survey conducted by CRS that most Americans are unaware of the harmul impacts of orphanages on children and families and many are interested in contributing, or have in the past contributed, money or volunteering time to orphanages in developing countries. Senefeld outlines some of the negative effects on children's development that are associated with institutionalization and discusses "Changing the Way We Care," the joint project of CRS, Lumos, and Maestral International to end the institutionalization of children.