2024 Global Forum panel talks about necessary paradigm shift from orphanages to family-based care

On the third day of the World Without Orphans global forum that is currently taking place in Chiang Mai, Thailand, a panel discussion highlighted a central issue the orphan care movement is wrestling with today: the need to move away from institutionalized care in orphanages and finding solutions that ensure children grow up in permanent families.

Institutionalized care has been proven to be an outdated model that fails to meet some of the most essential needs of children and leaves them ill-prepared to flourish in life once they grow out of the system. There is no better place for children to grow up than in a stable family structure. Several testimonies at the forum by those who grew up in as well as those who led orphanages attested to the vastly different long-term outcomes between those who only experienced an orphanage versus children who were eventually placed in families.

The required paradigm shifts to introduce a new approach of orphan care, however, may seem daunting considering the decades of investments by churches and Christian ministries into orphanages as a primary form of caring for vulnerable children.

According to a 2021 study conducted by the Barna Group that surveyed 3,000 U.S. Christians...

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