Romania aims to replace the last of its socialist-era orphanages with family-style children's homes in the next five years.

This November 3, 2017 file photo shows children at the Robin Hood orphanage trying a ballet move while posing for a photo in a corridor with painted windows, in Bucharest, Romania.
This November 3, 2017 file photo shows children at the Robin Hood orphanage trying a ballet move while posing for a photo in a corridor with painted windows, in Bucharest, Romania. (AP)

There is no precise global tally of children living in orphanages. But the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimates their number to be more than 2.7 million.

UNICEF and independent experts say that traditional orphanage life can harm a child's physical and mental growth.

In recent decades, a global effort has shut down many traditional children’s homes. But much still needs to be done.

Romania — where orphanages were once infamous for their appalling conditions — aims to be the first country to close these old-style orphanages for good.

A charity called the Robin Hood Centre is now building two family-style residences in the country with the help of the Hope and Homes for Children organisation to help children live in a family environment.

"When we began here in the late 1990s there were approximately 105,000 children confined into the state or system here in Romania. We have now brought that down to just over 7,000" says Mark Waddington, Chief Executive of Hope and Homes for Children.

TRT World’s Kerry Alexandra has more on the story.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies