The REPLACE Campaign champions the right of every child to live in a loving family as per the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which states that families are the natural environment for children's healthy growth and well-being. REPLACE advocates the replacement of institutional childcare (orphanages) with strong social structures that prevent children being separated from their families, reunification of families where possible and where necessary providing family based alternative care.
The need for the REPLACE Campaign is based on the fact that even though some effective de-institutionalisation (DI) work is being carried out in some countries, many new institutions are still being opened around the world, even though most governments have agreed to the principles of the CRC.
Cambodia has seen a 75% increase on orphanages in the five years from 2005 to 2010 and in some districts of Uganda, two or three new orphanages are being opened every month.
Research shows that a large percentage of the general public still regards orphanages as an acceptable method of childcare, deserving of their financial support. This erroneous belief manifests itself in the widespread support given to orphanages by school fundraising events, churches, the media and volunteers.
Most orphanages have charity status and are run by trustees who mean well but who are not aware of the dangers and harm of the institutionalisation of young children. The REPLACE Campaign reaches out to all these target audiences to inform, educate and to advocate for the replacement of orphanages with best-practice childcare provision.
The REPLACE Campaign also supports and works in collaboration with organisations involved in DI at a national level. The Campaign showcases DI successes and raises the profile of DI projects. DI at a national level is usually a painstaking slow diplomatic process, involving nurturing governments and gradually building up consensus and momentum.
The REPLACE Campaign monitors DI efforts around the world to and is able to highlight tipping points quickly and mobilise support for those working at national level.
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