Why we decided to transition from residential to family-based care

Laura Horvath, Mohamed Nabieu and Melody Curtiss - Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care


The Child Rescue Centre became the first orphanage in Sierra Leone to fully transition from residential to family-based care. The decision to transition was made for many reasons, but the most unique reason is found in the story of Child Rescue Centre Director, Mohamed Nabieu. Nabieu was brought to the orphanage in 2000 and spent the majority of his childhood in the facility before returning as its Director. Following a 2016 directive from the Sierra Leonean government working with UNICEF for all orphanages to develop plans for deinstitutionalization, Nabieu and Dr. Laura Horvath of Helping Children Worldwide began discussing research on the care of orphans and vulnerable children. The global research in support of de-institutionalisation was borne out by anecdotal evidence collected over 16 years at the orphanage, including Nabieu’s own experiences. That ultimately led the Child Rescue Centre and Helping Children Worldwide to collaborate on a plan to close the residential centre and shift focus to family support. By the summer of 2018, they had successfully reintegrated the children into biological, kinship or foster care, closing the residential programme.