Transitioning to family-based care in Indonesia

Muhammadiyah was founded in 1912 with a central value of helping those in poverty and orphans. Traditionally, their approach was to house children in residential care institutions, but together with the support of Family For Every Child, this model is changing.

Muhammadiyah’s social programme, MPS, looks to find alternatives to residential care and new methods to promote family-based care.They provide support to vulnerable families through preventative services and want residential care facilities converted into community centres. The programme also delivers education to district staff in preventative care solutions, helping ensure no new residential care facilities are built.

Local champions are also emerging. When Panuta* took over as chair of one such institution in 2013, he  recalls how “many people were worried that it [reintegration] wasn’t the best for the kids”. Efforts were made to raise community awareness on this issue, and parents now also know they can approach the centre for support. Between 2013 – 2017, approximately half of the institution’s 48 residents were reintegrated back to families. On top of this, the centre is also seeing fewer children being abandoned.

Indonesia has over 8000 child residential care facilities, and many of the children housed in them have parents. Families may become separated due to factors such as poverty, or parents may choose to send their children to an institution so they can access education. The transition to family-based care is not an easy one and will take time, but today many more children are able to stay with their families thanks to Muhammadiyah’s efforts.

*Names have been changed

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