Progress has already been made in this area with the Royal Cambodian Government’s support of the UNICEF report, as well as crack downs on some harmful programs such as the 2010 arrest of a British man accused of child molestation while working with orphanages in Siem Reap. In addition to this, a law (prakas) on alternative childcare is pending as of 2011’. The policies and laws in Cambodia already state that the growth of more orphanages is not in line with what they see as positive development.

One problem is that families in rural areas, from where many of these “orphans” are pulled, are not always aware of the dangers of sending their children to live in these institutions. Donors/travelers have an opportunity to be part of developing more positive alternatives for vulnerable and abused children by supporting projects and organizations working in line with the development goals of the government.

There have been many examples of countries successfully moving away from institutional care for children, such as Bulgaria. Most “developed” countries retired orphanage-based systems long ago, in response to research which shows that it is not in the best interest of the child and his/her development to grow up in an institution.

The orphanage sector in Cambodia is growing BECAUSE of funding growth. Let’s grow solutions that ARE PROVEN to be less harmful!