There is a growing global consensus on the need to promote family-based alternatives to institutional care for children. No residential institution, no matter how well meaning, can replace the family environment so essential to every child. This Innocenti Insight examines efforts to prevent the institutionalization of children in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Italy and Spain, focusing on both public and private initiatives, as well as local and national policies. The study highlights the fact that policies to discourage institutionalization are not enough. The right climate is needed to create alternatives, including raising public awareness.
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