Deinstitutionalization is not about closing Orphanages.

There is a lot of debate whether or not to close down orphanages.
Children lining up for food in an orphanage.There have been reports of grievous abuses taking place in some of these “safe spaces.”

There is a worldwide clamour to ensure that children are not closed in orphanages. Over time after in depth research it has been proven that the effects of holding children in these facilities are far reaching and negative to their social,physical and psychological development and sadly in some cases it is even permanent damage. Research has proven that more harm than good happens in those institutions,sexual abuse is rampant, physical abuse, neglect and worse off denial of love and affection. This has been overlooked for a long time! This is because it has been assumed that these spaces are “safe spaces” hence it’s even hard to try and question, and worse off believe that abuse can take place in those institutions. Recent reports in the media have proved these assertions.

“A lot of people think of de-institutionalization as getting children out of institutions, and that’s not exactly the idea.The idea is to de-institutionalize the system rather than the children because if you get children out of institutions,but you leave the institutions there, then probably, little by little,children will be coming back into them.” Says Nigel Cantwell a world renowned Child safeguarding expert.

Deinstitutionalization comes as a solution. But it has to be done with a lot of care so that it does give even further ‘casualties.’ The thing is, as much as we had the traditional orphanages running, we still had children suffering in families and on the streets. So care needs to be taken not to increase on the number of children facing abuses in families or on our streets.

This being a new idea, deinstitutionalization, it needs to be taken step by step. The people who run the orphanage are not the problem, they genuinely wanted to help; I feel that where the problem lies is with the multinational organizations ,associations and individuals who donate money to these orphanages. They need to rethink their methods. This am saying alive to the fact that some have used these orphanages to mint money,but they are not many.

Another thing is, most children in orphanages have run from ‘homes’ with relatives , so care need to be taken so that these young ones are not taken back to the ‘lions jaws’ so to speak. Proper assessment sensitization and training needs to done to the populace on the need of children to grow in loving families with close family ties. Even the simple idea of living with a child that you don’t know is not a very welcomed idea. So it will take time to take to be accepted. Proper support system too have to be made to ensure that the families are stronger, stronger to even accommodate non member! The families have cash flow to meet the basic needs. This can be made possible by initiatives like cash transfers that have worked elsewhere.

The government should not only rush to enact legislation to this effect without doing research and knowing the best approaches for effecting this.This being a new idea it should also not be expected to work overnight. People need to take time to understand how it works for the sake of our heritage, children.

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