No child should grow up alone.

Yet an estimated 220 million children worldwide are growing up without the care they need. These are the children we work to support through our programmes, so they can thrive and build their future.

Children have the right to be cared for

All children have a right to have all they need to grow and develop. Their fundamental rights are enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which includes articles establishing rights to:
  • live with a family that cares for them

  • live in a safe and clean environment

  • have nutrition and healthcare

  • be educated

  • play and rest

  • give their opinion and be listened to

Yet 220 million children, 1 in 10 of the world's children, are not having their rights fulfilled. They are growing up alone.

Being alone is not just about having people around. It's about being listened to. It's about having a supportive community and friends. It's about feeling connected.

It's about knowing that you have someone who cares for you.

The child at risk

 220 million 

children are growing up without the loving care they need

 140 million 

children have lost one or both parents

 385 million 

children are living in extreme poverty


of the world's refugees are children

The impact of growing up alone

The absence of a stable, protective family exposes children to multiple risk factors. Their physical, psychological and social development may be hindered by insufficient nutrition, no access to education or health care, and lack of the emotional connection and support that every child needs.

Without a caring and protective parent, a child is more vulnerable to neglect, abuse, discrimination, exploitation and poverty.

Research has even demonstrated that the lack of love, care and support of a caregiver also impairs the development of a child's brain. 

Children who suffer from a lack of sufficient care:

  • are more prone to depression and substance abuse later on

  • do less well at school

  • have a higher rate of attempted suicide

  • are more likely to struggle with focusing and developing social skills

  • do not develop the resilience to cope with inevitable adversity

  • are more likely to experience health issues

  • are less likely to access the public support system

How to break the cycle

Care from cradle to career

Ensure that children have the care and support they need from birth until they are ready to live independently as adults.

Quality care options

Strengthen families to prevent family break-up and ensure suitable quality alternative care for children who have lost parental care.

Early intervention

Ensure that children experience love, support and stable relationships early on to foster their intellectual and emotional development and resilience.

Invest in young people

Support young people throughout adolescence, helping them to build their employability and life skills so they can successfully transition to independence.

The Care Effect

A strategy for development

When children can count on quality care and support, they can develop to reach their full potential and become contributing members of society. An investment in care for children at risk of growing up alone makes the world a better place - for them, for society and for the generations to come. This is the Care Effect. And this is how it works:




What we do

Impact of our work

What you can do