Orphan Statistics

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:

Outcomes
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

Family Life & Russell Moore on Infertility, Adoption, Orphan Care

Last week, Dr. Russell Moore joined Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine on FamilyLife Today to talk about infertility, adoption, orphan care, his own adoption story, and Adopted for Life.

Dr. Moore wrote on his blog, “The program has sparked a lot of conversation and not a little controversy, particularly about my views on in vitro fertilization (cue the tune to the Johnny Cash version of “I Won’t Back Down” here). More than that though, I’ve heard from hurting infertile couples, waiting adopting families, and previously adopted children all over the country.”

Here’s the audio for the programs:

Grappling with Infertility (Day 1 of 3). This is a conversation about our grappling with infertility, what to do if you’re infertile, and how churches can minister to hurting people who want babies and can’t have them. I talk bluntly here with Dennis and Bob about how infertility can be a spiritually dangerous time.

Embracing Adoption (Day 2 of 3). This is a conversation about how to start thinking about whether God would call you to adopt, and how to get started, if so. It also helps friends and extended family members think about how they can empower adoption and orphan care.

Welcome to the Family (Day 3 of 3). This is a conversation about how we ought to think about moving beyond adoption into “normal” life in the family, including the family of the church.

Hope for Orphans Event in Greenville, SC

Your Church and the OrphanOn Saturday, October 17th, Hope for Orphans will present “Your Church and the Orphan” at First Baptist Church of Simpsonville, South Carolina. ABBA Fund is privileged to be one of the sponsors of this excellent event.

Join others from your church who are passionate about the needs of orphans at this group workshop experience led by Hope for Orphans, a ministry of FamilyLife. It will be a powerful, interactive, and fun one-day event that will provide the necessary information and tools to explore how your church can effectively minister to orphans and waiting children.

This workshop will be from 9:00AM – 4:30PM on Saturday, October 17, 2009. The $20 per person cost includes lunch and snacks.

To register call 1-800-358-6329 or visit Hope for Orphans’ Scheduled Workshops page.

Together for Adoption Recap

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