Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version

November 2007


Published in Young Children, November, 62(6), 58-62. Online in Young Children: Beyond the Journal at
Copyright 2007 National Association for the Education of Young Children. Used by permission


As the number of children orphaned or abandoned worldwide rises, we worry about their rights and welfare. Children without parents or loving guardians are vulnerable to neglect, poor health care, and diminished education. Many come to live in institutions where they may experience a host of long-term problems, including malnutrition, growth retardation, sensory processing difficulties, behavioral and attachment disorders, and cognitive and language delays (e.g., Rutter, Quinton, & Hill 1990; Judge 1999; Zeanah 2000; Beckett et al. 2002). Yet, people are finding helpful solutions. Half the Sky Foundation (HTS) conducts infant nurture and preschool enrichment programs that dramatically enhance the quality of life and the development of orphaned children living in Chinese state-run institutions. Launched as two small pilots in 2000 by founder Jenny Bowen and a group of American adoptive parents, Half the Sky ( operates today in partnership with the Chinese government in 34 state-run welfare institutions in 12 municipalities and provinces. The foundation serves over 3,500 children and adolescents, without regard to gender or disability, with funding from individual, foundation, and corporate donors worldwide. More than 12,000 children have benefited already from HTS programs. This article describes the programs for the youngest children: infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.