Study of Children in Children's Homes in Nepal: Volume 1: Main Text

Rabi Bhawan

The first children’s home in Nepal was established more than 100 years ago. There were very few child homes until 1990. However, their numbers have dramatically increased in recent years. Since there has been no systematic study of children’s homes, there is virtually no information on the status of children’s homes and children staying in these homes. This study, which includes survey data from over 300 residential care facilities in 11 districts across Nepal, seeks to outline both the status of the children’s homes in Nepal as well as the status of the children living in their care.

58% homes surveyed had fewer than 25 children while only 3% had 100 children or more. The number of children admitted to homes over the least two years has increased dramatically. The proportion of conflict-affected children among recent admissions is also increasing, but widespread poverty remains the major factor driving displacement.

The status of children living in the homes is generally good. Their nutritional status is better than the average Nepalese children. Most of the homes had made reasonable arrangements for schooling the children and also have arranged for periodic visits of medical personnel. All but 12 homes were able to send their children to public or private schools. 57% of homes organized occasional meetings with family members; over 70% of children had had contact with parents or relatives in the 12 months preceding the study.

Despite these promising findings, however, one third of the homes had inadequate sleeping rooms and only about 40% had safe (boiled and filtered or treated) drinking water. Although only 8% of children in the homes were disabled overall, in some regions this proportion climbed as high as 46%. Almost 70% of children stay in the homes for more than a year; nearly 40% of children stay longer than three years. Moreover, less than one third of children leaving homes in the last year returned to their families though 80% of these children had at least one living parent.

This document lacks specific recommendations to accompany its results. Furthermore, this study did not include participatory data detailing the children’s perspectives. The high number of children whose parents are still alive underscores the need for effective family support and reintegration programs. Special attention should be placed on care for disabled children in homes with a high prevalence of disability.

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