Foster Care in Japan: growing inequality and importance of Education.

Foster care in Japan?
Foster care, orphanages are a house for many children without parents, children who have faced violence, children who need assistance due to living situations. The main purpose is to help such children be able to grow up and become independent. Every children has a different background, where many arrive due to parental death, violence, divorcee, etc.

What are the backgrounds of the children that arrive?

Many of the children suffer from violence. In 2013, 37% of the children arrived due to violence inside the house. (H25 means Heisei 25, 2013, H15: 2003)

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Graph one, background of children who are in child foster care.
表1 [平成29年度12月厚生労働省こども家庭局家庭福祉課「児童養護施設の年齢、在所期間、措置理由 ③児童の措置理由(養護問題発生理由)」]


In the past 10 years, the number of children who suffer violence has been increasing. In 2015, the number of children who suffered violence has tripled compared to 2005. (graph below).
Children who come to live in orphanages have experienced many sufferings therefore require much more than just economic support, but mental care and support.

         

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Number of children entering child foster care in the past years. H18 (2006) to H28 (2016)

Due to the increasing number, it is important to think of better solutions: Adoption and smaller foster homes.

According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. Japan currently has the lowest percentage of children in foster care (adoption rate) among those who need protection.

Thus most of the foster care programs are institucional, rather than family-environments.
If adoption increases,  the children will be able to grow up in a family environment which helps them build up confidence, stability and allows them to have a model of the construction and elements of a family.

Resource:Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
Infographic by Human Rights Watch.


Reducing the size of foster homes can also reduce the stress caused by living in groups, thus is a closer structure and model to a family.
Both models are recommended to improve the environment where the children grow up, but in reality, the university attendance rate is very low and many children suffer fitting in the society. Therefore it is important to have an environment that gives sufficient support while encourages independence through the education.

Written by Hitomi Hara, project manager of Educate For Japan.