How Many Orphans Are There?
- Over 143 million children have lost one or both parents.
- Every 18 seconds another child becomes an orphan, without a mother or father.
- At least 16.2 million children worldwide have lost both parents.
- Every 14 seconds a child loses a parent due to AIDS.
- Conflict has orphaned or separated 1 million children from their families in the 1990s.
Where Do They Live?
- 43.4 million orphans live in sub-Saharan Africa, 87.6 million orphans live in Asia, and 12.4 million orphans live in Latin America and the Caribbean.
- 1.5 million children live in public care in Central and Eastern Europe alone.
- At any given point there are over 500,000 children in the U.S. Foster Care system.
- In some countries, children are abandoned at alarming rates, due to poverty, restrictive population control policies, disabilities or perceived disabilities, and cultural traditions that value boys more than girls.
Does AIDS Effect Them?
- More than 14 million children under the age of 15 have lost one or both parents to AIDS, the vast majority of them in sub-Saharan Africa.
- By 2010, the number of children orphaned by AIDS globally is expected to exceed 25 million.
- AIDS is more likely than other cause of death to result in children losing both parents.
- As the infection spreads, the number of children who have lost parents to AIDS is beginning to grow in other regions as well, including Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and Eastern Europe.
What Happens to These Children?
- Children are profoundly affected as their parents fall sick and die, setting them on a long trail of painful experiences often characterized by: economic hardship, lack of love, attention and affection, withdrawal from school, psychological distress, loss of inheritance, increased physical and sexual abuse and risk of HIV infection, malnutrition and illness, stigma, discrimination, exploitation, trafficking, and isolation.
- Orphaned children are much more likely than non-orphans to be working in commercial agriculture, as street vendors, in domestic service and in the sex trade.
- Unaccompanied boys are at high risk of forced or ‘voluntary’ participation in violence and armed conflict.
- Orphanages, children’s villages, or other group residential facilities generally fail to meet young people’s emotional and psychological needs.
What About U.S. Foster Care?
- On average, children stay in foster care for 30 months, or 2.5 years.
- 118,000 children are waiting to be adopted at any given time.
- On average, those children waiting for adoption have been in foster care for 43.8 months, almost 4 years.
- Each year, an estimated 20,000 young people “age out” of the U.S. foster care system. Many are only 18 years old and still need support and services. Of those who aged out of foster care:What