The Alternative Care Framework
In partnership with the Ugandan government and with Alternative Care Initiatives, International Child Campaign is supporting and promoting Family Preservation, Resettlement and the Alternative Care Framework for Children without Parental Care in Uganda.
The Alternative Care Framework is a continuum of care for responses to orphans and other vulnerable children. It prioritises the responses that should be used.
There has been a massive rise in the number of childcare institutions (orphanages) in Uganda since 1996, when there were 35. Today there are more than 500, of which only 6 are run by the state. Charities and churches, mostly funded from abroad, are effectively running Uganda's non-parental childcare system. Most are using residential care facilities (orphanages) as the main service provision, despite that fact that most of the children in orphanages are not orphans and do have families.
Support an orphan?
Labelling children who live in poverty, who have been abandoned or who are otherwise at risk as orphans triggers a response to the label, not to the child. It triggers the building of orphanages and taking the child out of the family and community. Far better for the child is to strengthen the family and the community and allow the child to grow up there, while tackling the causes of the child's vulnerability.
There are some inspirational initiatives to reunite children with their families, prevent separation in the first place and to build a foster and domestic adoption system in Uganda. There is also a move to de-institutionalise childcare in Uganda, which involves resettling children back into their communities and families, and closing down orphanages. It is these initiatives that the campaign is promoting and supporting.
Reasons why there are orphanages in Uganda
Some orphanages are run by well-meaning people who simply want to help, but who have not studied the best-practices in Alternative Care and who are not aware of the harm done by the orphanage system.
Good intentions are not enough. Anyone supporting an orphanage in Uganda (or intending to start one) is responsible to ensure that they study the law and the regulations. Please contact us if you are unsure where to start.
A recent series of workshops in Uganda investigated why there are so many orphanages with the following results:
- Desire to indoctrinate and convert children to a religious affiliation
- Proprietors interested in getting quick money
- Fulfilment of donor conditions and expectations
- International adoption
- Institutions need children to be in their schools
- Families offered free accommodation and education for their children
- Institutions need children for child labour
- Institutions targeting children for sexual abuse
- Institutions need children to obtain and maintain child sponsors
- Lack of awareness about the rights and needs of orphans and other vulnerable children
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