Effects of Institutional Care

Institutionalising children has been shown to cause a wide range of problems for their development, well-being and longer-term outcomes. Institutional care does not adequately provide the level of positive individual attention from consistent caregivers which is essential for the successful emotional, physical, mental, and social development of children. This is profoundly relevant for children under 3 years of age for whom institutional care has been shown to be especially damaging. 

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Sarah Fathallah & Sarah Sullivan,

This study provides a deep, nuanced understanding of the lived experience and mental models of young people who have recently lived in institutional placements while in foster care. It offers an understanding of institutional placements from youths’ perspectives.

Tien Sy Pham, Haiying Qi, Dingxuan Chen, Huilin Chen, Fang Fan - Child Abuse & Neglect,

The authors of this study investigated the prevalence rates of childhood trauma, depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms and suicidal behaviors among Vietnamese adolescents and compared the differences between institutionalized adolescents (IAs) and noninstitutionalized adolescents (NIAs). In addition, they examined the multidimensional associations between childhood trauma and psychopathology among IAs.

Sai Kiran Pasupula, Madhavi Kodali, Therissa Benerji, Krishna Mohan Parvathaneni - Archives of Mental Health,

The aim of this article was to study and compare the depression and behavioral problems among children residing at welfare hostels and orphanages.

Mark Wade, Devon Carroll, Nathan A. Fox, Charles H. Zeanah & Charles A. Nelson - Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology,

This article from the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology examines the extent to which psychosocial deprivation increases the risk of later cognitive and psychiatric difficulties and the downstream consequences of this for risk-taking behavior in adolescence. The current study included 165 children, 113 with a history of institutionalization and 52 with no such history.

Lory Zephyr, Chantal Cyr, Sébastien Monette, Maude Archambault, Stine Lehmann & Helen Minnis - Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology,

This meta-analysis aims to clarify the size of the associations between disinhibited social engagement behavior (DSEB) and attachment insecurity or disorganization.

Mark Wade, Margaret A. Sheridan, Charles H. Zeanah, Nathan A. Fox, Charles A. Nelson and Katie A. McLaughlin - Development and Psychopathology,

The authors of this study used data from a longitudinal randomized controlled trial of foster care for institutionally reared children to examine whether caregiving quality and stressful life events (SLEs) in early adolescence (age 12) influence patterns of hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis and sympathetic nervous system (SNS) reactivity.

Darshani Hettiarachchi - Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health,

This article explores mental health related issues in children and adolescents in childcare institutions in Sri Lanka.

E. V. Bakhvalova, A. V. Miklyaeva - Integration of Education,

The study sought to reveal socio-psychological factors of successful integration of institutionalized adolescents into mainstream schools.

Natalie L. Colich, Margaret A. Sheridan, Kathryn L. Humphreys, Mark Wade, Florin Tibu, Charles A. Nelson, Charles H. Zeanah, Nathan A. Fox, Katie A. McLaughlin - The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry,

This study used data from the Bucharest Early Intervention Project – a randomized controlled trial of foster care for children raised in psychosocially depriving institutions – to examine the associations of the caregiving environment with reward processing, executive functioning, and internalizing and externalizing psychopathology at ages 8, 12, and 16 years, and evaluated whether these associations change across development.

Marinus van IJzendoorn,

This presentation - delivered by Marinus van IJzendoorn at a 18 November 2020 meeting of the Evidence for Impact Working Group, a working group of the recently launched Transforming Children's Care Global Collaborative Platform - presents evidence of the harmful impacts of institutionalization on children, demonstrates some of the benefits of deinstitutionalization for getting children back on track, and raises questions about gap-year volunteers working in orphanages.