Rethink Orphanages: better solutions for children is a cross-sector network that aims to prevent the unnecessary institutionalisation of children by shifting the way Australia engages with overseas aid and development.

Rethink Orphanages is represented by members from international aid and development, philanthropy, education and faith-based communities and is working with externals stakeholders from a range of sectors including government, media, and the travel industry. This diverse network is uniquely positioned to take action on issues related to the alarming numbers of children being unnecessarily institutionalised in developing countries.


The problem:

More than 8 million children live in institutions globally, despite the fact that over 80% of these children have parents or family. Children who grow up in orphanages experience attachment disorders, developmental delays, and have difficultly forming relationships in adulthood. The effects of institutionalisation can last a lifetime and even impact upon following generations.

Unfortunately, the institutionalisation of children is, in many cases driven by the well-meaning but uninformed support of foreign donors, orphanage voluntourism, and the supply chain of people, money and resources that drive the orphanage industry.

The Solution:

If Australians redirect their support away from Residential Care Institutions towards organisations who are working to keep children in families, we can ensure that vulnerable children have what all children need and deserve – a family. We are calling on Australians to inform themselves about the orphanage industry and to join with ReThink Orphanages to find solutions to ensure that all children can achieve their right to grow up in a family.

ReThink Orphanages provides advice and information to government, business, donors, and non-profits on policy, child focused giving, transitioning from residential to community based care, responsible tourism, child rights focused business models, and technical advice.