Penn State Partnership Aims To Help Children In Orphanages Be With Their Families

Penn State recently announced it will partner with J.K. Rowling’s non-profit children’s organization, Lumos, to help children in orphanages stay with their families. The partnership between Lumos and the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at the National University of Ireland Galway, which includes Penn State’s UNESCO Chair in Community, Leadership, and Youth Development program, will focus on ways to improve the lives of children living in orphanages.

Approximately 90 percent of the estimated eight million children living in orphanages worldwide have living parents or families. With the right assistance, these parents and families could care for their children. In light of this, the partnership will research why children are separated from their families and figure out the best way to keep families together. The operation will focus on practical, cost-effective, and sustainable ways to support families and their children. Special interest will be placed on those who are poor, disabled, or minorities.

UNESCO Chair Professor and professor at Penn State, Mark Brennan, will work with director and joint founder of the center at NUI Galway, Pat Dolan, on the research. “The vast majority of these children and youth are not orphans — over 90 percent have at least one parent — and are mainly in care due to poverty and a lack of community-based supports,” Brennan said.

The partnership is able to begin its important work thanks to a grant from Atlantic Philanthropies. The partnership intends to start by comparing the best practices in Ireland for keeping families together with existing systems of care for children in other countries. Countries looking for reform will use the practices discovered to be most effective to help children from vast areas.

It is heartening to see Penn State involved with such important research and we can only hope that, through the hard work of the research partnership, more children are able to stay in the care and protection of their families.

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Allison Doluisio

I'm a sophomore from Bucks County, PA. Or as everyone says, "Right outside of Philly." My parents first date was at the Corner Room so I have pretty much been bleeding blue & white since birth. Feel free to contact me at [email protected]

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