A Child’s Right to a Family: Deinstitutionalization – In the Best Interest of the Child

Asha Bajpai - Journal of the National Human Rights Commission


Family is the core unit of society and a major source of the development of children. Every child has the right to a family. There are millions of children living in institutions worldwide. The best of institutions cannot substitute the care in a family of the child. In India there is a disturbing trend of young children, although having both parents, frequently being placed in institutional care for supposed education and a better life. There is proven recognition, worldwide, that institutional care is associated with negative consequences for children’s development. Yet thousands of children are in institutions rather than with their families, because they cannot access alternative care systems. Using national and international law, court observations, and field experiences, this paper argues a case for deinstitutionalization of such children, by empowering the families, thereby protecting their right to a family and preventing abuse and exploitation.