Updated: Every 6 seconds a child is losing a parent or caregiver as a result of COVID-19.

The solution is family strengthening, not orphanages.



WWO are co-authors of a critical joint report, ‘Children: The Hidden Pandemic 2021’, which revealed the significant global crisis of children losing a parent or caregiver as a result of COVID-19. In an update to the Lancet report on February 24, 20226.7 million children have now suffered from COVID-19-associated orphanhood and caregiver death in the past two years.

This number is rapidly growing: every 6 seconds another child loses a parent or caregiver.

See how many children have lost a parent in your nation...

These children and their families are likely to go on to face many challenges – including the loss of income, mental health issues, as well as the inability to access education and health care. Children are also more likely to end up in an orphanage because of these challenges, even if they have only lost one caregiver.

We know there is a better alternative. Children who are well supported and cared for by a family member after losing a parent or other primary caregiver show great resiliency.

Therefore, now is not the time to build more orphanages.

Now is the time to strengthen families – and we must act now!

Parenting tips

Parenting for Lifelong Health, the parenting program recommended in the WWO Roadmap, has produced easy-to-distribute parenting tips in over 100 languages. WWO endorses these tips as effective in helping strengthen families and prevent violence against children.


Do you know how many children have lost a parent or caregiver in your nation? Enter your country name to find out.

How can churches respond?

Around the world, churches are ideally placed to ensure families get the support they need to enable children to thrive in families and to prevent them from ending up in orphanages. Here are some practical steps your church can take today!

  1. Raise awareness and pray. 
    The impact of COVID-19 on children is largely hidden, we need to shine a light on the impact – so do everything you can to engage your congregation on this topic and take time as a church and in small groups to pray for children experiencing loss. 
  2. Identify children who have lost a parent, grandparent or family caregiver. 
    It’s not just the issue that is largely hidden, so too are the individual children. Spend time investigating who in your community may have experienced a family death. When you hear of someone dying of COVID-19, find out if they had children and learn what plan is in place for caring for the children. 
  3. Find out how your church can support these families. 
    We will be hosting regional webinars where you will learn more ways you can provide practical support. Register your interest now, to claim your free place.