A child’s right to family

Joan Kaufman - The Lancet

In this commentary piece for The Lancet Psychiatry, Joan Kaufman of the Center for Child and Family Traumatic Stress highlights some key findings and recommendations from the Lancet Group Commission on the institutionalisation and deinstitutionalisation of children. The author builds on the Commission's "call for the progressive elimination of all forms of institutional care for children," by suggesting a timeframe of "10 years should be sufficient to achieve the goal of eliminating institutional care for children worldwide."

"With will and commitment, proper resourcing, crucial international and national partnerships, and proper data to monitor progress, the practice of institutionalisation of children could be eradicated by the end of 2030. Existing residential and group care settings can be transformed into community centres offering assessment, case management, physical therapy, mental health treatment, and other needed services; or transformed into family treatment centres where parents can receive substance abuse treatment or other necessary services and supports while staying with their children. Institutional care is not just bad for children’s development; group care is substantially more expensive than foster care. It is time to make children’s right to a family a reality," says Kaufman.