Friday, November 26, 2010

About Orphanage & Its History

What is Orphanage?

An orphanage is an institution devoted to the care of children whose parents are deceased or otherwise unable to care for them. Parents, and sometimes grandparents, are legally responsible for supporting children, but in the absence of these or other relatives willing to care for the children they become a ward of the state, and orphanages are a way of providing for their care and housing.

Orphange History:-

The first orphanages, called "orphanotrophia," were founded in the 1st century amid various alternative means of orphan support. Jewish law, for instance, prescribed care for the widow and orphan, and Athenian law supported all orphans of those killed in military service until the age of eighteen, and Plato (Laws, 927) says:—"Orphans should be placed under the care of public guardians. Men should have a fear of the loneliness of orphans and of the souls of their departed parents. A man should love the unfortunate orphan of whom he is guardian as if he were his own child. He should be as careful and as diligent in the management of the orphan's property as of his own or even more careful still."

Historically, certain birth parents were often pressured or forced to give up their children to orphanages: those of children born out of wedlock or into poor families; those with disabilities or of children born with disabilities; and those with girls born into patriarchial societies. Such practices are assumed to be quite rare in the modern Western world, thanks to improved social security and changed social attitudes, but remain in force in many other countries.

Since the 1950s, after a series of scandals involving the coercion of birth parents and abuse of orphans (notably at Georgia Tann's Tennessee Children's Home Society), the United States and other countries have moved to deinstitutionalize the care of vulnerable children—that is, close down orphanages in favor of foster care and accelerated adoption. Moreover, as it is no longer common for birth parents in Western countries to give up their children, and as far fewer people die of diseases or violence while their children are still young, the need to operate large orphanages has decreased. These factors have also resulted in a dramatic reduction of local orphans available for adoption in first-world countries, necessitating journeys by many would-be adoptive parents to orphanages in the Third World.

Today, the term orphanage has given way to softer language as "group home", "children's home", or "rehabilitation center". However, major charities are increasingly focusing their efforts on community-based care of orphans in order to keep them with extended family and communities. Orphanages are no longer common in the European community, and Romania in particular has struggled to reduce the visibility of its children's institutions to meet conditions of its entry into the European Union. In the United States, the largest remaining orphanage is the Bethesda Orphanage, founded in 1740 by George Whitefield.

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