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Raised by the Community

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It takes a village to raise a child.
African proverb

Sometimes a family can be a man, a woman, and their children. It can be a man, a woman, and their Happily Adopted children. It can be two men, two women, grandparents, or single parents. It can also be a group of semi-competent members pitching in to raise one child. This trope represents a community banding together to raise a child as best they can.

The child's parents can be in various states of disarray. They usually aren't Good Parents, but at the highest standard for this trope, they might just be in over their heads. It's possible that Deceased Parents Are the Best, and this trope is the aftermath. One parent could be deceased, while another is a Workaholic or Too Dumb to Live. They might just be a simple Dysfunctional Family that the community has taken note of. There are numerous parental arrangements of this trope, but the end result is the child being raised in a larger community than keeping their family to a small group of parents and siblings.

The community itself may or may not replace the parents, depending on the situation. It can be formed out of any social group, from the Barbarian Tribe to the Quirky Town to the workaholic parent's place of business. The community members can play any number of roles in the child's life that are not parental. One might be the Cool Uncle (not to be confused with Nephewism), another might be the Apron Matron, while the Lady Drunk that the group tolerates slips odd words of wisdom under the table when the others aren't watching. Whatever role each member of the community plays, the child considers them a part of their family, despite not being biologically or legally related.

For specific, smaller quirky family groups, see Raised by Wolves, Raised by Orcs, Raised by Natives, and other similar tropes under the Raised category. See also Circus Brat. Compare and contrast No Blood Ties and No Fathers Allowed, where this is a societal norm.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The main premise of Kotaro Lives Alone centers around four-year-old Kotaro living in an apartment complex on his own. His neighbors, mainly Karino, treat him like their own son and take turns watching over him.
  • Yuuno from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha mentions in the first season that he was raised communally by the Scrya clan.
  • One Piece:
    • Luffy's largely absent grandfather/primary guardian Garp left him in the care of the residents of Windmill Village until he was about seven, while only making occasional visits.
    • The Roger Pirates, Captain Roger and first mate Rayleigh in particular, raised Shanks from infancy and Buggy from at least early childhood as apprentices on their ship.

    Comic Books 
  • A villainous version of this trope exists in Batman in the form of Astrid Arkham, AKA the Arkham Knight, who was raised by the inmates of Arkham Asylum more than their actual father, due to their deceased mother being somewhat of a Morality Pet for the patients.
  • In most continuities Wonder Woman was raised in a loving group effort by the Amazons as she was the first child in their isolated community in centuries, her younger sister Donna usually received a similar upbringing but there is a reason Donna has her own Continuity Snarl page. The New 52 iteration is an exception.
    • In Wonder Woman (1987) the fact that many Amazons were key to raising Diana is highlighted, as is the fact that she was the only child on the island so she was a doted on and beloved little princess. In her adulthood this translates to extreme loyalty from many Amazons as she is the closest thing they have to their own daughter.
    • The emotional toil of being immortal and unable to have or see a child for centuries is explored in Wonder Woman (2006), where once again many Amazons were delighted when Diana was born and more than happy to love her like a daughter and help raise her.
    • The RWBY/Justice League version of Wonder Woman takes it further as she calls all the Witch-Warriors her "mothers".

    Fan Works 
  • Many Avatar: The Last Airbender fics show that the Water Tribes believe firmly in this trope; whether kids are their own or not, all adults in a tribe help any child any way they can. Stories where Zuko is adopted into the Southern Water Tribe have this trope come up.
  • A Fandom-Specific Plot for Spyro, with him being raised by the Artisan dragons. Often applies to Flame and Ember as well, with other dragon types sometimes being used for them.
  • There are several Undertale fanfics where the entire Monster Kingdom plays a role in raising Frisk, though Toriel tends to remain their primary caregiver.

    Film — Animated 
  • Megamind: The titular character, as a baby, had his pod crash-land into the Metro City prison. The inmates raised him into a villain.
  • In The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Peach was raised by the Toads who inhabit the Mushroom Kingdom, after she came out of a warp pipe from an unknown world as a baby.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Dark Crystal: When her mother and father were killed by the Garthim, Kira was taking in by the Podling village. When she introduces Jen to them, it doesn't appear like any one Podling raised her; rather, she refers to them collectively as the ones who took care of her. Averted with Jen, who was taken in by the Mystics but cites his master (the wisest of the Mystics) as his Parental Substitute.
  • Midsommar: After Pelle's parents died when he was still a child, the village collectively took on the role of caring for him.

  • All The Skills - A Deckbuilding LitRPG: Dragon hives always need more potential riders, so they're generally happy to take in orphans and look after them. Arthur himself is adopted by Wolf Moon Hive, and later rescues a number of children from his home (prison) village, with their parents' consent, so they can be raised as "orphans" by the Hive rather than being trapped with no prospects and a short life expectancy.
  • InCryptid:
    • Frances Brown was left as a Doorstop Baby at the Campbell Family Carnival, and raised by the carnies. She ended up becoming their star performer until she left with Jonathan Healy, but she stayed in touch with her friends there, and Jonathan even arranges for the Carnival to come to Buckley for their wedding.
    • Their grandchildren Kevin and Jane were also raised by the Campbell Family Carnival, though not because they were orphans — their mom was off in Another Dimension searching for their dad.
  • The Neverending Story: Atreyu's parents died tragically when he was a baby. As such, he was raised collectively by all the women and all the men of his tribe.
  • Subverted in A Series of Unfortunate Events. In "The Vile Village", the Baudelaires are placed in a program where they will be communally raised by the town of VFD, but the residents use it to make the Baudelaires do everybody's chores.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Mexican series El Chavodelocho, the eponymous character is an orphan boy who is supported in various ways by other characters living in the neighborhood.
  • Parodied on Dharma & Greg. Dharma's hippie parents take "it takes a village" literally and bring in a large group of people to help take care of Dharma and Greg's baby.
  • Luna from New Amsterdam (2018), raised by the title community. With Georgia dead, Goodwin has to bring his daughter to work every day, carrying her around before dropping her off at the hospital's daycare. The Season 2 opening episode shows him running around the hospital solving problems while all the main staff members coo at Luna. It's very clear that they have fallen in love with her.
  • Star Trek: Voyager demonstrates that it takes a starship to raise a child — in this case, Naomi Wildman. (Her mother is alive and serving on Voyager; her father is back on Deep Space Nine.) Standouts include Seven of Nine as the Cool Big Sis, Neelix as her Cool Uncle, and Janeway as her role model.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Sesame Street had all the main human characters take part in helping raise Big Bird, with Gordon, Susan and Maria being the main parent figures for the eight foot six year old

    Video Games 
  • In Genshin Impact, Bennett was raised by the senior members of the Mondstadt Adventurer's Guild, whom he refers to collectively as his "dads". Since they're all currently retired and elderly, Bennett is stated to spend a lot of his time caring for them and became an adventurer in the hopes of financially supporting them.
  • I Was a Teenage Exocolonist: All adults taking part in raising the children is the norm in the Strato colony. Blood ties only matter in terms of sharing family bedrooms and being the prime decision-maker when it comes to the child's life. Several situations show the subtleties of the system:
    • Tang and Dys, who are orphaned twins, still have an adult in the colony who is considered their prime caretaker.
    • Upon finding out that children in older times had to do Egg Sitting as a deterrent to reproducing too early, the Player Character doesn't understand the deterrent aspect due to taking for granted the idea that a child's biological parents wouldn't be the only ones caring for them.
  • Like a Dragon:
    • In Yakuza 4, Tanimura's father died when he was a young child, and he was raised instead by Zhao and the other residents of the non-Japanese district Little Asia — one memo even refers to him as the "adopted son of Little Asia". Growing up in a community of immigrants allowed him to learn multiple languages, and he's fiercely protective of the people who raised him. Later in life he took to gambling and extortion in order to give back to his community, in particular supporting other children who lost their parents like him.
    • In Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Ichiban was abandoned in a soapland by his mother, and was raised instead by the owner, the girls who worked there, and the so-called "undesirable" citizens of the red-light district. This gave him a unique and sympathetic perspective on the people who have to live in the seedier parts of town, particularly those who work in the sex industry, which would later lead to him coming down very harshly on moral purists who wished to drive prostitution out of the city.

    Western Animation 
  • Carmen Sandiego, then known as Black Sheep, from the Netflix show Carmen Sandiego, was raised on Vile Isle by the VILE staff members who acted as her basic teachers and caretakers.
  • In Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child this happens in its adaptation of The Pied Piper of Hamelin. After the Pied Piper takes away their children, the people of Hamelin realize the only kid left in town is a homeless boy whom they had never helped once. Seeing how badly they had screwed up, the townsfolk, from the workers to the mayor himself, collectively adopt the boy and raise him lovingly. This helps lighten up the otherwise dark ending of the original story, making it more of a Bittersweet Ending.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: It's established that the Horde regularly takes in orphans they find after battles and raise them to become soldiers for the Horde. While Shadow Weaver acted as a mother figure for Adora and Catra (although not a good one), it's implied that the other cadets in Adora and Catra's unit were this trope.