Project/Icons / advocateProject/Icons / appealsProject/Icons / blog postProject/Icons / documentsProject/Icons / educateProject/Icons / healthProject/Icons / media releaseIcons/moneyIcons/moneyx2Project/Icons / petitionIcons/Ionic/Social/social-pinterestProject/Icons / protectProject/Icons / quoteProject/Icons / supportProject/Icons / volunteerProject/Icons / water

Reuniting families

12 November 2019

We’re reuniting children with their families, protecting them from a life of fear

Around the world more than 8 million children are living in institutions, despite the fact that 80% of these children have family who could look after them if they were given the right support. 

In many countries where Save the Children works ‘orphanage tourism’ is an increasing problem. Thousands of children are being removed from their families, friends and communities to fill places in 'orphanages'. Tragically, it is tourism that is creating this demand for ‘orphans’ and ‘orphanages’. 

Unscrupulous people are capitalising on the goodwill of visitors who want to donate money or volunteer by filling orphanages with children who are not, in fact, orphans

In Cambodia, the number of residential care institutions has risen by 75% in the last decade, despite the fact that the number of orphans has significantly reduced. The vast majority of children in these institutions are not orphans, in the traditional sense, but children from poor families. 

Save the Children delivers programs which prevent family separation and reduce the vulnerabilities of children who are in institutional care, such as orphanages

“We know children around the world are being exploited and removed from their families to fuel the rising demand for orphanage tourism, and we need to do everything we can to protect these children, and one of the best ways to do this is by raising awareness and reducing this demand,” Karen Flanagan AM, Save the Children.

In this video, Save the Children’s Child Protection Advocate, Karen Flanagan AM, tells the story of a young Cambodian girl, bringing to life the fear these children face when removed from their families and placed into an ‘orphanage’. 


If you believe a child is in immediate danger, call Police on 000.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, and you are unsure which service to contact, call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on 13 11 14. Both are available from anywhere in Australia 24 hours a day (toll free) and provide generalist crisis counselling, information and referral services.

If you need to report an incident of child abuse or neglect, refer to the CFCA resource sheet Reporting Abuse and Neglect: Information for Service Providers.

Stay up to date on how Save the Children is creating a world where every child has a safe and happy childhood