Demystifying foster care in Zambia

In this column, published in Zambia's Daily Mail Limited, Gerald Kaputo, an advocacy officer with SOS Children's Villages Zambia, briefly explains child abandonment and the use of childcare homes for abandoned children in the Zambian context. Kaputo notes that 6,413 children are said to be living in childcare homes countrywide, according to the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services. "Additionally, the Central Statistical Office reports that Zambia has a total of 1.2 million orphans and vulnerable children and also about 8,470 child-headed households," says Kaputo. However, according to the author, formal foster care is still not a popular option in Zambia, which he attributes to "misconceptions derived from some cultural beliefs." 

"But the onus is still on society to take an active role in caring for these children and also on Government to raise awareness on other alternative care forms as well as financially supporting foster care programmes in the country," says the author. Kaputo lays out examples of how awareness-raising has helped to successfully implement foster care programs in other countries, such as Japan, Armenia, and Bulgaria, and opines that this could be done in Zambia as well.