MP pledges to end the institutionalisation of children

North East Herts MP Oliver Heald pledged to support efforts to end the institutional care of children globally and ensure that all children have the opportunity to grow up in a family at an event held last week in the Houses of Parliament hosted by international charity Hope and Homes for Children.

Shockingly, it is estimated that eight million children across the world are suffering life in an institution or orphanage. Prisoners of outdated childcare systems, they are deprived of love, attention and care. Years of research has shown that this neglect has a devastating impact on a child’s life. Children raised in poor quality institutions fail to stand or walk by the age of four. Many have lower educational performance and are at higher risk of developing personality disorders later in life. They are more likely to become homeless, turn to crime and prostitution or commit suicide. It is an appalling fact that neglect, abuse and malnutrition leads to the death of many children in institutions.

Hope and Homes for Children is the leading expert in closing children's institutions and reforming childcare systems. Their work is focused on replacing institutions with quality family-based care, such as adoption and fostering, and putting in place services which support families and prevent children going into care in the first place.

Hope and Homes for Children’s Chief Executive Mark Waddington commented “In the UK we drew a line under institutional care for children decades ago because we knew this environment wasn’t fit for our nation’s children and was, in fact, highly damaging. It is unthinkable that we should accept any less for the millions of children in the developing world. We are delighted that Oliver Heald MP has pledged to support our efforts to eradicate this form of childcare across the world within our lifetime.”

Commenting, Oliver Heald said, “I was impressed with this valuable work helping children in Eastern Europe and Africa to have a proper family life rather than being institutionalised from an early age. Hope and Homes for Children is shining light on a little known but an important issue which I am proud to support. I was shocked to learn that 80% of children in institutions and orphanages are not actually orphans but have been given up by desperate parents who feel they have no other option because there is no support available to them.

"It is unthinkable that we should expect any less for children globally than we expect for our own children - all children should have the opportunity to grow up in a family, not an institution which causes them irreparable damage."


For more information or to support its work, visit or follow @HopeandHomes on Twitter. A film about last week’s event is available here:


For more information, or high res images, contact Beth Maughan on 01722 790111 or email:

Contact Oliver Heald QC MP 01763 247640


Notes to Editors:

·         Hope and Homes for Children is a leading charity in transforming harmful and outdated childcare practices in Central and Eastern Europe and Africa

·         Hope and Homes for Children helps children grow up in loving families in their own countries by closing orphanages, preventing child abandonment and keeping together families at risk of breakdown due to the pressures of poverty and disease.

·         To help transform a child’s life visit or follow @HopeandHomes on Twitter