Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Orphan Crisis

an excerpt from my recent research project concerning the orphan crisis...

Today, a world-wide orphan crisis of unprecedented proportions is spiraling out of control. Few regions around the globe are exempt from this overwhelming plight affecting millions of children of all ages. Most research agrees there may now be as many as 145 million children around the world who would be considered orphans by standard definitions. On one hand, researchers carefully present many qualifications and offer various definitions for the digestion of the latest and very discouraging statistics. Nonetheless, the scope of the orphan predicament has undeniably reached catastrophic dimensions. The concerned people of the world, especially the Church of Jesus Christ, must move more rapidly toward innovative global solutions for this major, expanding dilemma.

Many nations around the world, including the United States, have growing orphan numbers and stumbling orphan care systems. However, three regions of the world in particular draw a great deal of attention – Asia, India and sub-Saharan Africa. Researchers indicate there are over 67 million orphans currently living in Asia. Data collected in sub-Saharan Africa reveals there are over 43 million orphans now living in this region. Over 25 million children live as orphans in the relatively small land mass of India. While statistics vary depending on the sources themselves, the number of orphans in these three areas of our world alone is simply staggering.

The United States also faces a growing orphan care problem. In the U. S there are currently 500,000 orphans who are in the foster care system. It is reported that over 130,000 of these children are available and waiting to be adopted. In other words, these children have been separated from their family in some way and/or parental rights have been terminated. While an estimated 51,000 children are adopted out of the foster care system each year, another 79,000 children remain in the orphan care system at the end of each year.

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