Rising poverty, increasing fuel costs, and a belief their children need an education is forcing hundreds of thousands of Indonesian parents to abandon their children and have them placed under care of orphanages. The Save the Children Foundation estimates there are 500,000 children in Indonesia current in an orphanage despite the fact 90% of them have at least one living parent. In a recent survey of 36 of these homes for children, it was found once children get out of school, they spend their time cooking, cleaning, and caring for younger children. As Florence Martin of the Save the Children Foundation notes, the staff focuses on managing the children but “the children’s needs at the psychological level is not on the agenda.”
The Indonesian government pays private institutions to care for children and they are paid on the basis of numbers. This has resulted in fierce competition among these private institutions to get children into the homes. The government refuses to accept responsibility for ensuring children are under the care of trained staff who are both concerned about education and the emotional needs of children.