Mapping Australia's support for the institutionalisation of children overseas

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van Doore, Kathryn
Healy, Laura
Jones, Megan
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While anecdotal evidence suggests Australia makes a significant contribution to the supply chain of people, money and resources that drive the orphanage industry, there is a clear lack of literature, data and reporting mechanisms currently in place to accurately determine the scope of Australia’s support for the institutionalisation of children overseas.There is a growing awareness within the child protection and international development sectors of the detrimental effects of residential care and the linkages between residential care and orphanage tourism, however this message has yet to achieve widespread penetration and acceptance in Australia. This report seeks to map Australia’s contribution to residential care institutions for children overseas across a number of sectors and identify opportunities for strategic engagement with various stakeholders in the Australian context. Important recommendations that arise from the mapping: 1) Investment in further research and data collection studies: More research, data collection and reporting mechanisms are required across all contributing sectors. There needs to be a concerted effort to capture data in relation to volunteers leaving and returning to Australia for volunteering purposes. 2) Data indicates the faith-based sector contributes significantly to the support of residential care for children overseas, and is generally less bound by reporting requirements. This sector is particularly complex in the flows of money, resources and peopleandwarrantsfurther research and analysis intohow faith-based organisationscontribute to the institutionalisation of children overseas. 3)There is a need to redirect volunteers to engage in non-residential programs that seek to strengthen families and communities if appropriate. 4) Strengthening of thesupply-side regulatory frameworksacross the NGO, faith-based, education and tourism sectors is required. 5) Investment in improving child safeguarding practices to address a lack of understanding of child rights and protection across all sectors is needed.

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van Doore, K; Healy, L; Jones, M, Mapping Australia's support for the institutionalisation of children overseas, 2016