Roger Olson writes about helping orphans and proposes that orphanages are not always the best answer in the latest Christianity Today.
While orphanages will always be necessary for some, child-welfare advocates say that as many as 50 percent of children in sub-Saharan African orphanages have known relatives who are willing to raise them at home. But they cannot afford to step into the breach.
Homeless children, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, much prefer to live with loved ones—such as grandparents—who desperately want to care for them. But a widowed grandmother is not always financially able to care for all her grandchildren, and may need financial or material help from a local church. These churches need support from American churches to provide for the families caring for orphans in their communities. Christians in affluent countries such as the U.S. should give generously to organizations that help place orphans with families.
There is no substitute for the family. With our emphasis on family values, evangelicals know it. Now it’s time to
translate that knowledge into action in developing countries.