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DfID alters grant application policy
27 February 2019

Last week, the Department for International Development (DfID) edited their funding guidelines surrounding the support of residential children’s institutions (or orphanages) and family-based alternative care.
UK Aid Direct, DfID’s primary grant-making portal, now states that “applications for the funding of orphanages or other residential children’s institutions” will not be accepted for UK Aid funding. This represents a significant shift from previous policy where any form of child welfare support would be considered. It’s a positive step forward and we’re delighted with this development.

Even more encouragingly, the new policy is built on a recognition that “Children’s prospects are generally best served by family-based care – be it with their own families, extended families or qualified foster families”. Following on from Secretary of State for International Development Penny Mourdant MP’s statement in July 2018, this sentiment represents a strong foundation for the development of DfID’s aid policy. Family placement provides a clear positive alternative to institutional care, and by working with our government partners we’ve witnessed the impact this policy can have on generations of orphaned and abandoned children.

However, the removal of funding to orphanages must be matched by the provision and development of alternative care systems for orphaned children. Where this is lacking, some of the most disadvantaged children in the world could become even more vulnerable.

“China’s success is not related to de-institutionalisation but remodelling it’s services to meet the needs of the children they serve” ”
Director of Chengdu Community Resource Centre

Over the past twenty years, our work in China has demonstrated the benefit of championing family-based alternatives whilst simultaneously transforming residential children’s institutions into community resource centres in key sites across China. Communities have benefitted from the vast array of services that these centres now offer, from family support to medical care, serving both children placed in families and the wider community. Equally, children suffering from severe disability may not be able to find adequate care in their local communities, and residential care institutions can still play a role in serving these children.

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