Causes & Circumstances of Enrolment & Moving-Out of the Children in Child Care Centers & Orphanages

Amjad Nazeer & Siraaj Khurram - Institute of Development and Corresponding Capabilities (IDRAC) & Secours Islamique France

Executive Summary 

The aim of this study has been to assess the reasons for the increased enrolment of children into orphanages and child care centres. An action research was conducted in Islamabad and Rawalpindi between November and December 2017 to assess the situation and identify the causes and circumstance that bring in and compel orphans and vulnerable children to move out after a certain age or grade. But the last bit does not apply to all the centres. 

Recent data shows that 4 out 5 children in CCCs are not double orphans, suggesting parent(s) are forced to send their children to CCCs largely because of unbearable poverty. Other reasons for this enrolment are access to education, parental caused either by natural disasters or for some other accidents, natural death or otherwise. Literature review also shows that admitting children in CCCs imprints adverse psychological, social, emotional and physical impacts on children’s personalities and behaviours. 

IDRAC has employed Quantitative and Qualitative research methodologies to acquire a holistic understanding of the causes and circumstance of the children themselves and the parents, those who are alive. Precisely, the methodology relies and attempts to draw results both from primary and secondary sources of information. It is essential to emphasise that gender dimensions have been carefully taken care of while designing and implementing the researching tools, and during interpretation of the findings. 

The qualitative and quantitative findings are corroborated with the ideas and insights learned through the literature review. Poverty, large family size and access to education are the three dominant reasons for the enrolment of children in CCCs and orphanages in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Parental physical or mental disability and other forms of vulnerabilities, especially of the father, also cause putting children into the centres. With increased population growth, unplanned and haphazard urbanization accompanying multiple social problems, more and more families are turning economically marginalized and threatened. 

The study recommends that programmes and interventions be devised at the family level as well as at the district administrative level to discourage enrolment of children in care. Parents and families need to be supported at the household and community level, through financial and technical support. Strengthening their capacity to take care of their children will reduce the tendency of enrolling them to the child centres and orphanages. Family planning need to be further intensified and new strategies be adopted while intervening both in rural and urban suburbs to reduce the sizes of the families. Social protection and social security measures be adopted to discourage the trend of the putting children into residential care. 

Availability and accessibility of education may also reduce the trend of enrolling the children into child care centres as seeking children’s education also emerged as one of the major causes of enrolling children in bid cities where education is compulsory part of raising these children along with food and shelter.