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Moving Forward: Implementing the 'Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children'

De-institutionalisation strategy, Malawi

Focus 3: Strategies for de-institutionalising the care system

The Malawian Government is seeking to reduce reliance on institutions for children requiring alternative care. The government is therefore currently scaling down the number of ‘orphanages’ in the country.

In addition, the government introduced the Malawi Child Care, Protection and Justice Act 2010, which provides the overall legal policy framework for care and protection of children in Malawi. The new law approaches child welfare in a more holistic way by: providing for a child as a subject of care and protection; strengthening adoption procedures; and legally recognising foster care. The law also strengthens the family and community-based care model of addressing child welfare. The effect of the law has supported efforts towards de-institutionalising the child care system. There has been a reduction in the number of children living in institutional care, with an increase in the number of foster parents, community-based childcare centres and other community-based structures, such as support groups.

The new law is also a culmination of the outcomes of the National Plan of Action for Orphans and other Vulnerable Children and its related policy, the National Early Childhood Development Policy and its implementation framework. These provide a framework for directing attention towards family and community-based care for children without parental care or for children at risk of losing parental care.  

For more information see: Ministry of Gender, Children and Community Development (2010).  Monitoring Of Orphans And Other Vulnerable Children (OVC) Programme In Malawi: 2009 Annual Report Malawi

International Social Service, Oak Foundation, SOS Children's Villages International, unicef, ATD Fourth World, Better Care Network, Family for every child, ngo group for the crc, PEPFAR, RELAF, Save the Children, USAID