Forum Endorses Comhlámh’s ‘Put Children First: End Orphanage Care’ campaign

Forum is happy to endorse the . This campaign is led by Comhlámh, a Forum member in Ireland. Its purpose is to raise awareness of the harms of orphanage volunteering and the institutionalisation of children and to advocate for policy changes to support the global care reform movement.  

Since its inception, Forum’s Global Volunteering Standard has prohibited volunteering in orphanages. The Standard insists that organisations ‘design all programmes in line with best practice on the protection of children, vulnerable adults and the wider community. This means, amongst other principles, not permitting volunteering in orphanages.’ Similarly, the ‘Duty of Care’ strand of the Standard calls on organisations to ensure that they ‘do not allow volunteers to work with or within orphanages or other residential care facilities for children’.  

Forum’s commitment to ending volunteering in orphanages is based on decades of international research on the harms of institutional care for children, and the particular harms caused by volunteering in orphanages. Institutional care is harmful to the health, development and wellbeing of children and can put them at increased risk of abuse and exploitation. In 2019 the UN passed a resolution which recognised the harm of orphanage care and orphanage volunteering and called for the end to both.  

Every child has the right to grow up in a family and a community. As a global network of organisations that work through volunteers to achieve sustainable development, and as an organisation that sets standards for our sector, we are proud to endorse the Put Children First: End Orphanage Care campaign’s call for family and community-based care for every child.  

To learn more, and to sign the pledge not to visit or volunteer in orphanages, visit the   and please.

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