In Lithuania, more than 4000 children live in large residential care institutions know as orphanages or “children’s’ homes” that sometimes accommodate up to 120 children. Institutional care is characterized by depersonalization, rigid routines, and lack of any warmth, love and affection. Institutions are not only extremely expensive, but also very harmful to children, their physical, social, cognitive and emotional development.
Most of these children have parents and their separation could have been prevented if the right services were in place to support vulnerable families. Children deprived of parental care should be provided with family-based care alternatives instead of being sent to large isolated institutions. To promote the transition from institutional to family-based foster care and encourage the Lithuanian Government to invest in family support services, Human Rights Monitoring Institute and partners launched awareness raising campaign “A Country Without Orphanages”.
People must be aware of the irreparable harm institutions inflict on children, and of better care alternatives that exists. More information on the initiative can be found on the campaign’s website www.bevaikunamu.lt.