Not that UNICEF has withheld it’s opinion until now, but this was well done. UNICEF recently published a brief, very clear statement summarizing its position on orphanages in Cambodia. If you’re looking for a succinct summary of the reasons why orphanages are – or ought to be – on the way out, look no further. I particularly like the conclusion:
UNICEF advocates strongly with relevant ministries and local authorities that no more residential institutions for children be permitted to open in Cambodia. All existing institutions must be open to regular inspection according to the minimum standards. Failure to meet the standards must result in closure of the institutions in question. No child aged 3 years or under should ever be placed in an institution. The goal is to encourage as many institutions as possible to promote family/community-based support models, which are cheaper, more effective and less damaging to children than institutions. A further goal is to undertake effective case management of all children in institutions to understand well their family status and to facilitate their reunification with their families or communities wherever possible. For those children for whom family is not a safe and loving option, to facilitate alternate community care; local adoption and inter-country adoption.
This isn’t condemning or saying that people involved with orphanages are bad or wrong. It’s just saying, let’s not expand on that, and here is a way to move forward that’s a “win” for everyone.