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Number of children “languishing” in “Korean orphanages”

As of 2012 Dec. 31, there were 15,916 children living in facilities in Korea. There are various kinds of facilities. The ones pertinent to this population are the following: child-rearing facility, protection and medical care facility, facility to support independence, temporary care facility (may be pre-adoption), multi-purpose facility.

The age breakdown of the total 15,916:

0-3: 1,338
3-6: 1,464
Elementary school: 4,830
Junior high: 3,832
High school: 3,172
College: 695 (myth that these kids can’t go to college)
Etc: (probably young adult) 585

In group homes, we have 2,438 children. Their age breakdown:

0-3: 62
3-6: 229
Elementary school: 848
Junior high: 682
High school: 481
College: 50
Etc: 86

That is a total of 18,354 children in facilities or group homes in Korea.

Original source in Korean for facilities and in Korean for group homes.

Summary sheet with more specific information in English.
Foster care families are not widely used in Korea except as a pre-adoption child protection measure. What does exist is not run by the state, but by NGOs such as Save the Children and Good Neighbors. There were 2,289 children in family foster care in 2012. Source: National Statistics Portal.

That is a grand total of 20,643 children in alternative care in Korea.

Regarding the adoption of “older children”: We have to consider that not all of these children who are in the facilities are “available for adoption” because their parents have not released their parental rights. Some will go home. Some will age out. In addition, let’s also consider who foreigners want to adopt. Who wants to adopt a Korean teenager speaking Korean (not English, French, or Italian), who is also going through puberty, or who is almost an adult, and who may not be able to “bond” with their adopters?

Here are the American numbers from the same year of 2012:

Group Home: 23,822

Institution: 34,179

That is a total of 58,001 children in facilities or group homes in the U.S.

Other forms of child protection in the U.S. are as follows:

Pre-Adoptive Home: 14,269
Foster Family Home (Relative): 108,841
Foster Family Home (Non-Relative): 184,379
Supervised Independent Living: 4,114
Trial Home Visit: 21,261

That is a grand total of 390,865 children living in alternative forms of care in the U.S.

You can find more detailed information on the situation in the U.S. at this link.

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2 Responses to Number of children “languishing” in “Korean orphanages”

  1. Jonathan Zobro August 15, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    Sarcasm in a title is hard to understand. I assume that was sarcasm? If it wasn’t, excuse all the other stuff I wrote below ^^

    The title implies that, compared to the US foster care system, the Korean foster system is better based on the numbers of children in each respective system: 15k vs 390k?

    I’m not a professional in foster care, but that seems to be a superficial and mis-leading comparison. How does each system track a ‘child’ in foster care? Is less than a day counted? A week? A month? If a child comes to the same facility more than once a year, is that ‘one’ or ‘two’. This could easily be an apples vs. oranges comparison. Not to mention the differences in population sizes, the US history of international adoption (9k, for last year(are those included?)), etc.

    Furthermore, the ‘total in foster care’ numbers would lead one to conclude that the US is in dire need of more domestic adoption. However, I think the turnover rate of foster care would be a much more interesting comparison. The ACF document says that in the US for 2012:

    * Number in foster care: 390k
    * Number entered foster care: 250k
    * Number exited foster care: 240k

    It seems that every year 60% of the children get out of the US foster care system. Assuming this is an improvement of their situation, that sounds pretty good. I didn’t see any sort of statistic for that in the Korean report.

    • jjtrenka August 15, 2014 at 3:24 pm #

      Jonathon, that is a good point. I will try to find that information.

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