Definition - What does Orphan mean?

An orphan is a person who has lost both of their parents, and who is under the age of 18. It is not necessary, however, for a child's parents to have died in order for them to be considered an orphan. Children whose parents have gone missing, or who have abandoned them, can also be classified as orphans.

In the context of the law, the classification of "orphan" is important for issues like child welfare and adoption.

Justipedia explains Orphan

Children who become orphans can face extremely difficult lives. This is because they do not have their natural parents to help take care of them and raise them until they are able to provide for themselves. For this reason, orphans are often placed in the care of the state, such as at orphanages. There are also many programs that help orphans to be adopted. If an orphan is adopted, full legal custody can be given to the adoptive parents.

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