These are the most recent and reliable statistics on the global orphan situation.
- The most recent estimate is that there are approximately 145 million orphans in the world (UNICEF 2008). For this number, an orphan is defined as a child who has lost one or both parents.
- More than 15 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS, over 11.6 million of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa.
- In 2007 67.5 million Children in South Asia and East Asia had lost one or both parents due to all causes.
- Included in the 2008 estimate of 145 million orphans are more than 92 million that have a surviving mother—-with whom they most likely live.
- Another 38 million have a surviving father.
- The UNICEF orphan numbers DON’T include abandonment (millions of children) as well as sold and/or trafficked children.
- The UNICEF orphan numbers DON’T include many non-reporting nations (namely, Middle Eastern Islamic nations) where shame and divorce abandonment are rampant. 200,000 + orphans in Iraq, for instance, are not part of the count.
- We are looking at a number quite higher than 15 million “double orphans.” Best guess is somewhere around 40 or 50 million.
- According to data released in 2003 as many as eight million boys and girls around the world live in institutional care. Some studies have found that violence in residential institutions is six times higher than violence in foster care, and that children in group care are almost four times more likely to experience sexual abuse than children in family based care.
- As of 2002 in Europe and Central Asia, over one million children lived in residential institutions.
- Worldwide an estimated 300 million children are subjected to violence, exploitation and abuse, including the worst forms of child labour in communities, schools and institutions, during armed conflict, and harmful practices such as female genital mutilation/cutting and child marriage.
- In the US there are approximately 500,000 children in foster care (Based on data submitted by states as of January 16, 2008)
- 130,000 of those children in foster care are waiting and available for adoption. Children waiting to be adopted include children with a goal of adoption and/or whose parental rights have been terminated. Children whose parental rights have been terminated, who are 16 years old and older, and who have a goal of emancipation are excluded from the “waiting” population. An individual child is included in the count for each year that he or she has these characteristics on the last day of the year.
- Approximately 51,000 children are adopted from the foster system each year.
- That leaves 79,000 children annually in the US needing an adoptive family.
- 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. Several foster care alumni studies show that without a lifelong connection to a caring adult, these older youth are often left vulnerable to a host of adverse situations:
Earned a high school diploma 54%
Obtained a Bachelor’s degree or higher 2%
Became a parent 84%
Were unemployed 51%
Had no health insurance 30%
Had been homeless 25%
Were receiving public assistance 30%
Sources: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_research/afcars/trends.htm, http://www.unaids.org/en/KnowledgeCentre/HIVData/GlobalReport/2008/2008_Global_report.asp, http://www.unicef.org/sowc09/docs/SOWC09-FullReport-EN.pdf, Young adults ages 18-24 years old 2.5 to 4 years after leaving foster care: Cook, R. (1992). Are we helping foster care youth prepare for the future? Children and Youth Services Review. 16(3/4), 213-229. Cook, R.; Fleishman, E., & Grimes, V. (1989). A National Evaluation of Title IV-E Foster Care Independent Living Programs for Youth (Phase 2 Final Report, Volume 1). Rockville: Westat, Inc., http://chrisitianallianceblog.org/?p=74, http://abandoned-orphaned.typepad.com/paulmyhill/2009/08/the-count.html
I list these statistics with a broken heart and realization that each number represents a real, living child who is in desperate need of care and a family. We can become easily overwhelmed with these statistics but I pray for my self and for the church that they would lead us to pray more specifically and passionately for them. I pray they will move us to act with greater urgency to see each one of these children cared for in the name of Christ.
“Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” Isaiah 1:17
My wife and I have been listening to David Platt of The Church at Brook Hills recently. He’s currently preaching through James and through this series the church has committed to what they are calling “The Radical Experiment.” I can’t urge you enough to look at what they are doing. When I read this I think, “YES! This is how a church that is reading and preaching the book of James ought to respond!” I can’t wait to see the ripple effect of this on their church, other churches, their city, and the nations.
From their website:
As our faith family has been studying the book of James, we have been challenged by the Word in light of the needs around us in the world. When it comes to spiritual need, so many still have so little access to the Gospel, and when it comes to physical need, over 26,000 children die every day of starvation or preventable diseases. Meanwhile, God has entrusted the Gospel to us, in addition to giving us extraordinary physical resources compared to the rest of the world. In light of all that God has given us and in view of the needs around us, we are not going to be content to merely listen to the Word and deceive ourselves; we are going to do what it says.
We’ve decided that for one year we are going to look at every expenditure we have in light of dire, desperate need around the world (specifically children who are dying of starvation or preventable diseases). As a church, we are going to save and sacrifice in every possible place in order to free up as many resources as we can to give away. In addition, individuals and families within our faith family are going to begin doing the same thing, spending and sacrificing every possible dollar in order to give as much as possible to urgent spiritual and physical need around the world.
Our initial commitment of $525,000 to Compassion International involves sponsoring 21 Child Survival Programs across India.
In addition to caring for children on the other side of the world, we have also been challenged by James 1:27 to care for children and their families here in Birmingham. On Sunday, September 6, as we studied James 1:27, we began considering how we could work in partnership with the Department of Human Resources in our county (as well as other foster care and adoption agencies that work with DHR) to provide for all of the children in need of homes in our county. Two weeks later, on Sunday, September 20, hundreds of families signed up to begin the foundational steps in fostering and/or adopting children.
Read more on their website here.
We had a great time in Franklin, TN at Christ Community Church this weekend at Together for Adoption 2009. It was a huge blessing to connect with many friends old and new!
The most amazing thing to me was seeing over 600 people gather because they want more of God’s heart for the fatherless. For me, it was more evidence that God is at work in His church calling His people to be a “voice for the voiceless.” I was also struck by the number of young couples and families that came!
I was so busy running around behind the scenes that I didn’t get a chance to visit the exhibitor area but I heard that lots of great conversations happened back there! Next year we are already planning more time for that, and more time for the breakout presenters!
All the speakers did an outstanding job. We will have the audio available soon so be sure to listen to them if you didn’t make it. In the meantime, you can read recaps and watch speaker interviews by our live-blogger Zach Nielsen. We are so thankful for each one of the speakers and the way they served us! Dr. Russell Moore summed things up powerfully in the last message of the conference with a sobering call to the church when it comes to orphan care and adoption. It is a must listen. Aaron Ivey ended things with his song, “Let Your Kingdom Come.” It was a very moving close to the conference, together calling out to God for His kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven. May it be done!
Let the sick run free
The orphan find her home
The captured man will know
Release from slavery
Your Kingdom here and now
To the least of these
Distribute what we have
That all may taste and see
Let Your Kingdom come
Let Your will be done
All the Earth will say
and echo angels’ praise
that You are God
Let Your Kingdom Come – Aaron Ivey
We are excited to announce that we are livestreaming the Together for Adoption conference this weekend. You can now join with over 600 others who are gathering in Franklin, TN at Christ Community Church. See below for the schedule – all times are in CST.
Follow the stream here w/ chat features.
Or follow here to watch & twitter along with others.
Thanks to the folks at Livestream.com for their support!
The news service of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has a great article on the passing of Dr. Russell Moore’s resolution on adoption. The resolution encouraged every Southern Baptist family to pray about whether God wants them to adopt or provide foster care for a child or children. It also called on Southern Baptist and other evangelical churches to devote a Sunday each year to emphasize “our adoption in Christ and our common burden for the orphans of the world.”
Here are a few choice quotes by Dr. Moore:
“Something is afoot among Christian families and churches of virtually every kind,” Moore said. “God is calling the people of Christ to see the face of Jesus in the faces of orphans in North America and around the world. Southern Baptists have affirmed our belief in the authority of Scripture, and the Bible tells us pure religion is defined by care for the fatherless.
“We’ve been defined by our commitment to evangelism, and there is no greater field as `white unto harvest’ right now as children in orphanages, group homes, and the foster care system, children who don’t know a parent’s love and who don’t know the name of Jesus. When Satan wars against children, we should be the ones who have compassion on them, even as Jesus did and does…
“My prayer is that twenty years from now there are thousands of Southern Baptist pastors, missionaries, and church leaders who started their lives as orphans, now preaching the gospel of God their Father.”
Read the whole thing.