Lumos, formerly known as Children’s High Level Group, is an international non-governmental charity (NGO) founded by British author of Harry Potter, J. K. Rowling, which promotes an end to the institutionalisation of children worldwide.
|Purpose||Children/young people's welfare; health/education/social care; family support|
Founder and president
|J. K. Rowling|
|Board of Trustees, chaired by Neil Blair|
In 2004, after seeing an article in The Sunday Times about children being kept in caged beds in institutions, J. K. Rowling felt compelled to address the problem. She said: "I looked at that photograph of the boy in his cage bed and felt he had absolutely no voice. This touched me as nothing else had because I can think of nobody more powerless than a child, perhaps, with a mental or a physical disability, locked away from their family. It was a very shocking realization to me and that's where the whole thing started." As a result, she co-founded the Children’s High Level Group with Emma Nicholson to address the problem of institutionalised and disadvantaged children in Eastern Europe. In 2010, the Childrens' High Level Group was relaunched as Lumos. The name Lumos comes from a light-giving spell in the Harry Potter books.
Lumos and other organisations have worked to encourage the European Commission to establish regulations that state that fundings to EU Member States must be used for community services, not to build or renovate residential institutions. Even before the regulations were passed, as a result of years of advocacy and awareness-raising, this principle of funding supporting 'deinstitutionalization' (DI) had already helped divert more than €367 million of EU funding away from institutions towards community services.
Lumos works on a global scale, particularly promoting family care and helping authorities to close down institutions and orphanages. It is a member of the Global Alliance for Children, an international grouping of governmental agencies, private foundations and NGOs which are concerned with children's interests.
According to a conversation between Lauren Laverne and J. K. Rowling, as of 2016, Lumos has put more than 17,000 children out of institutions. They have set up foster care, small group homes where children live in a family-type situation, and found adoptive parents in the child's community.