The majority of children in orphanages are social orphans. This means that one or both parents are living, but due to cultural norms, social stigmas, or poverty they have been abandoned or placed in state care. Most orphaned children fall into one of several categories:
1. The child was born with a medical condition and birthparents were encouraged to; or had no choice, but to place their child in an orphanage- in hopes they would receive much needed medical care.
2. The birth parent had planned to parent the child, but due to economic or personal reasons believed placing the child in an orphanage was necessary.
3. The child was removed from the home and parental rights were terminated because of abuse or neglect.
4. The child was abandoned- usually at birth.
5. They are true orphans with no living relatives (less common -except in Africa)