Institutionalization and the commodification of children

How to ensure children regain their right to family life

Authored by: Georgette Mulheir , Lynn Lina Gyllensten

The Routledge Handbook of Global Child Welfare

Print publication date:  February  2017
Online publication date:  February  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138942752
eBook ISBN: 9781315672960
Adobe ISBN: 9781317374749


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This chapter explores the drivers behind the continued, and in some parts of the world, growing, institutionalization of children. It presents evidence related to the serious harm caused by institutionalization and the better alternatives that exist. In addition, it provides developing evidence of a range of economic drivers behind the proliferation of ‘orphanages’ globally. Finally, it summarizes an approach to transforming children’s services and reducing reliance on institutional care that has been tried and tested in many countries. It is hoped this chapter will assist researchers and practitioners globally who work to strengthen and transform child protection systems and services.

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