National Survey of Institutions for Children in Rwanda. In March 2012, the Cabinet of the Republic of Rwanda approved the National Strategy for Child Care Reform, the first phase of which aims to ensure the closure of 33 institutions and placement of all 3,323 children and young adults living in them into alternative care. Hope and Homes for Children, in partnership with the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion, conducted a national survey of these institutions. Among its key results, the study found: the majority of children had entered the institutions during the first seven years of their lives, with almost 40% of children aged 0-3 years at the time they were placed; the average length of stay was over 13 years; and occupancy ranged from 8 to 566 children. Over half of the institutions were founded by faith-based organizations, a majority by local rather than international organizations. The study makes recommendations including that all children be moved to family-based care, with the youngest children to be moved out as soon as possible.

It also suggests that family separation prevention services must be supported and developed at the community-level and that children be supported in their transition to independent living after leaving care. [Source: Better Care Network]