The Issue


Best known for its MacArthur Fellowships or “Genius Grants,” the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation started the 100&Change competition to find and fund a single proposal that promises real and measurable progress in solving a critical problem of our time.

The 100&Change competition spurred Catholic Relief Services, Lumos and Maestral International to come together and act to a new level. Independently these organizations worked on single aspects of the problem. Each organization works directly with community leaders and governments. Each of our work provided proof of the negative outcomes of institutionalizing children. Each organization gives directed attention to the importance of children staying in thriving families. Until the 100&Change competition, we had never dreamed we could start a global movement.

Changing the Way We CareSM is a global movement designed to promote family-based care, and a platform to change the way the world cares for children. We are proud to have been one of the 4 finalists by MacArthur, chosen from more than 1,900 entries. We thank the MacArthur Board of Directors for its commitment to our vision, and for daring us to dream. With their generous $15 million award, we can do more than just dream.

Some staggering 80-90% of children in orphanages – almost all of them — have at least one living parent.

Changing the Way We Care is committed to keeping children in families. Research tells us that, even in the best orphanages, children lag developmentally. In the worst places, we uncover abuse, neglect and human trafficking.

All children deserve to be with their families. Together, we’re making that a reality.

Our approach is two-pronged. We keep children from entering orphanages in the first place. But we also work for those already living in these institutions. We reintegrate them with their families or place them in healthy family settings – relatives, foster care, or adoption.

Orphanages. We’re not shutting doors. We’re opening new possibilities.

Research shows that institutionalized care:

  • Negatively affects a child’s physical, intellectual, and psychosocial development
  • Makes children more susceptible to violence, abuse and exploitation
  • Leaves them ill-prepared for life once they “age out” of the system
  • Results in unemployment, exploitation, and homelessness, with long-term costs to society

Family First.

Donors who support orphanages clearly want to help children in need. We want to redirect their invaluable philanthropy toward keeping children in families instead of orphanages. We engage donors to help them better understand the issues surrounding orphanages and encourage them to redirect their donations to support children in families instead of facilities.

  • Funding should target vulnerable parents grappling with poverty, illness or the challenge of raising children with disabilities.
  • Different levels and types of support will help parents properly care for their children.
  • We also transform well-meaning institutions now known as orphanages into dynamic, community-based centers for care and family support.
  • We work directly with the orphanage staff, giving them training and resources to reunite families.
  • We not only want to reunite the children currently in orphanages with their families, but we also want to prevent future generations from ever entering orphanage care.