A LABOUR MP has joined calls to end the “heartbreaking” institutional care of children.
Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson signed up to a campaign in Parliament to end the care of children in institutes and orphanages around the world.
The campaign aims to make sure all children have the chance to grow up in a family, not an institution.
She said: “It is heartbreaking to learn that 80 per cent of children in institutions and orphanages are not actually orphans but have been given up by desperate parents who feel they have no other option because there is no support available to them, and to see examples of where children in institutions are not getting the level of care they need, let alone being placed within a secure family environment as soon as possible, as we try to do in the UK.”
Hope and Homes for Children is the leading expert organisation in closing children’s institutions and reforming childcare systems.
Its work is focused on replacing institutions with quality family-based care, such as adoption and fostering, and putting in place services which support families and prevent children going into care in the first place.
Mrs Hodgson added: “Hope and Homes for Children is shining light on a little-known but an important issue, which I am proud to support
“It is unthinkable that we should expect any less for children globally than we expect for our own children.
“All children should have the opportunity to grow up in a family, not an institution which can ruin the whole of their lives.”
The international children’s charity estimates that eight million children across the world are suffering life in an institution or orphanage, deprived of love, attention and care.
Research has shown that this neglect has a devastating impact on a child’s life, and children raised in poor quality institutions fail to stand or walk by the age of four, many have struggles at school, are at higher risk of developing personality disorders later in life, and more likely to become homeless, turn to crime and prostitution or commit suicide.
Neglect, abuse, and malnutrition lead to the death of many children in such institutions.
Hope and Homes for Children’s chief executive, Mark Waddington, added: “In the UK we drew a line under institutional care for children decades ago because we knew this environment wasn’t fit for our nation’s children and was, in fact, highly damaging.
“It is unthinkable that we should accept any less for the millions of children in the developing world.
“We are delighted that Sharon has pledged to support our efforts to eradicate this form of childcare across the world within our lifetime.”