Children We Support

Care Homes

Children’s care homes are facilities that house children, aged one to eighteen, who cannot live with their parents or whose family is unable to raise them adequately. There are various reasons for children to be admitted to these homes, including parents passing away, divorcing, or falling ill, and economic hardship. However, admissions as a result of abuse have been increasing recently, and now over half of children in care homes have experienced some form of abuse in the past.

Life in Care Homes

Thanks to the tremendous efforts of care workers and administrators, children living in care homes are provided with security and comfort. The children attend local schools as well as pursue hobbies, sports, and other leisure activities. They can also take part in events at the care homes and join local children’s groups.

Issues Faced by the Children

Social Prejudice

Children’s care homes and their circumstances are still not yet properly understood by the public. There is a misconception that all children at the facility are “problematic” and “anti-social” or are poor and abandoned by their parents. The children can also face outright discrimination at school or work. And many children and adults feels the need to hide the fact that they live, or have lived, in care homes.

Psychological Trauma

Many children who grew up in such circumstances still suffer from psychological trauma. As a result, many of them face a variety of issues, not just in their day-to-day lives, but when they leave the care home and live independently.

Lack of self-affirmation

Unable to trust adults and other people

Lack of confidence and low self-esteem

Little sense of adventure, extreme fear of failure

Poor communication ability

Indecisiveness and lack of resilience

Becoming Independent

In principle, children are required to leave care homes and live independently at age of 18, as they graduate from high school. From then on, they are responsible for managing every aspect of their lives, such as food, clothing and accommodation, as well as work and studies. This is a sudden and substantial change from the sheltered life in a care home, both physically and emotionally. While they start to prepare for it as they enter high school, it is difficult to fully be ready for life in a new environment, forming new relationships, and having complete responsibility for their work. Consequently, some children find it difficult to cope with the new problems that they encounter, such as managing their own finances, balancing work and study, managing workplace relationships, as well as social prejudice and the stress of being alone.

Limited opportunities and the future

Once the children have graduated from high school and started to live independently, with no adults they can rely on, most of them choose to work, for economic reasons. A survey study showed that out of all students who graduated from high school in 2018 in Japan, about 70% of them advanced to higher education, while only about 30% of student who lived in care homes advanced to higher education in the same year. Even those who advance to higher education still need to work to support themselves, and some of them end up dropping out of school, due to the difficulty of balancing work with their studies.

Reference: Children’s Care Home Survey Result 2018: Social Independence and Its Support, NPO Bridge for Simile (Japanese only)

Unable to prepare themselves fully, both physically and emotionally, without adequate social support, and still suffering from psychological trauma, many children face issues in their “independent” lives that are overwhelming, and some of them end up in situations far from ideal.

Working poor

Involvement in crime or the sex industry

Homelessness Placement of their own children in care homes

It all add up to broken dreams, lost opportunities for youth, and real social and economic costs for this society.