Cognitive, Behavioural and Emotional Benefits of Deinstitutionalisation for Children with Disabilities: A Comparative Study of the United Kingdom and India

Devanshi Khetawat - Institutionalised Children Explorations and Beyond


Research states that institutionalisation often results in negative outcomes for children’s mental, physical and emotional health and behaviour. Alternatively, deinstitutionalisation can buffer this negative impact across countries and cultures. However, these results have been inadequately replicated with children having disabilities, who are at heightened risk of negative psychosocial outcomes of institutionalisation. Owing to the large number of children with disabilities in institutional care and this seems unrepresentative and undesirable. In the current article, the cognitive, emotional, mental health, and behavioural benefits of deinstitutionalisation for children with varied disabilities in India and UK are discussed. For this, the researcher’s compilation of observational data and personal reflections from 4.5 years of practical work with deinstitutionalised children with disabilities is used. Further, interview extracts and reflections from children and their adoptive/foster carers post deinstitutionalisation are included. With this, an attempt is made to advance how and why deinstitutionalisation is beneficial for children with disabilities.

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This article is part of the special issue of the Institutionalised Children Explorations and Beyond journal.