What does Orphan mean?
Although internationally an orphan is defined as a child who has lost one or both parents, in industrialized countries the term generally refers to a child who has lost both parents. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimates there are approximately 123,000 orphans in America who have entered the foster care system because they were abused, neglected, or abandoned. This does not include the total number of children who live in foster care which is approximately 463,000. California has the largest number of children in foster care and over 20,000 children in California wait to be adopted each year.
Taking care of children without parents should be a concern for all of us. Approximately 25,000 children age out of the U.S. foster system every year, but this is not the end of the story. Without adequate care and protection for orphans, as well as those who age of the system, we all suffer. It is estimated that of those children who leave the foster care program "56% of those emancipated enter unemployment; 27% end up jailed; 30% become pregnant; a significant percentage commit suicide before 18; and a significant number are trafficked."