Social orphan

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A social orphan is a child with no adults looking after them, even though one or more parents are still alive. Usually the parents are alcoholics, drug abusers, or simply not interested in the child. It is therefore not the same as an orphan, who has no living parents. The phenomenon is encountered in regions such as Ukraine.[1]

The Convention on the Rights of the Child has brought many countries to reassess their mandate to care for children inside their borders thus bringing to light various new ways of thinking about international child care.[citation needed]


In a study of Honduras it was found that 54.3% of children commonly identified as "orphans" were actually social orphans.[2]

Cause of social orphaning Percentage of orphans actually social orphans in Honduras
Street situation 19.3%
Unemployment 11.5%
Maternal / paternal irresponsibility 7.4%
Extreme poverty 5.5%
Physical abuse 5.9%
Disabilities / disabled 4.7%

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Marcel Theroux: life with Ukraine's street children". London: Guardian. May 16, 2012. Retrieved May 17, 2012.
  2. ^ Tercer informe periódico sobre la situación en el cumplimiento de la Convención de los Derechos del Niño "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-06-11. Retrieved 2008-05-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) (Honduras Data)