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Une étude suggère que les orphelinats ne sont pas aussi mauvais.
A new study challenges the widespread belief that orphans in poor countries fare best in family-style homes in the community and should be put into orphanages only as a last resort. On the contrary, the care at orphanages is often at least as good as that given by families who take in orphaned or abandoned children, the new research finds.
“We are seeing children thriving in institutions,” said Dr. Kathryn Whetten, director of the Center for Health Policy at Duke University and the first author of the study on orphans in South Asia and Africa, which was published online on Thursday by the journal PLoS One. “Institutions are not so bad. Community life can be very hard.”
The findings mean that there is peril in blanket generalizations about what is best for orphans, because there are good and bad versions of both orphanages and family homes, Dr. Whetten said.
“There’s a big push now to say institutions are bad,” she said, adding that the pressure had come from influential groups like Unicef, and could force the closing of orphanages that are taking excellent care of orphaned and abandoned children.
A spokeswoman for Unicef said officials had not read the report and could not comment on it.
Some countries, like Malawi, have begun experimenting with programs in which extended families are paid to take in orphaned relatives. Advocates say the programs keep children with their own families and cost far less than orphanages.
The question of how best to care for orphans is urgent and becoming more so, because the numbers are huge and growing. Worldwide, an estimated 143 million children have lost at least one parent. In Africa, about 12 percent of all children are orphans. Many parents have died from AIDS and other infectious diseases, pregnancy complications and natural disasters.
The study was conducted in five countries in Asia and Africa: Cambodia, Ethiopia, India, Kenya and Tanzania. Researchers visited 83 institutions from May 2006 to February 2008; they studied 1,357 orphans ages 6 to 12 who were in institutions and 1,480 who lived in homes in the community. The orphanages had, on average, 63 children each; 28 percent had 20 or fewer children, and 17 percent had 100 or more. The researchers assessed the children’s health, behavior, physical growth, intellectual functioning and emotional state.
The children living in orphanages generally fared as well as those in the community, or even better, the researchers found.
Dr. Whetten said orphanages in Africa and Asia were very different from the barren asylums included in previous studies in Britain and Romania that found institutions harmful.
She provided a separate report that described some of the orphanages. One, in Battambang, Cambodia, had 252 children living in 27 traditional Khmer homes inside a “large, airy, well-maintained gated compound” with gardens, a basketball court, a playground and plenty of open space. The people caring for the children had been orphans themselves or were widows, and the orphanage tried to make sure each child had at least one “parent and sibling.”
As for the African and Asian orphanages, the report in PLoS says, “Many institutions grew out of the community to meet the need of caring for the new wave of orphans and are a part of the community in a way that institutions in other regions and perhaps of the past were not.”
The pressure to move children quickly out of orphanages could endanger them, Dr. Whetten said, by sending them back to abusive or neglectful families.
“We’re not saying kids should be in institutions,” she emphasized. “We’re saying they’re not necessarily a bad option. We need to look at it as a feasible option for communities that are overwhelmed.”
Source: The New York Times. Denise Grady. 17.12.2009
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Family Preservation Advocate
It's good to know that about Cambodian orphanage!
Écrit par : Ben du Cambodge | 21/12/2009