Mapping the number and characteristics of children under three in institutions across Europe at risk of harm

Professor Kevin Browne and Dr Catherine Hamilton-Giachritsis

Young children (0 to 3 years) placed in institutions are at risk of harm, attachment disorder and developmental delay, including neural atrophy. The neglect and damage caused by early deprivation is equivalent to violence. This project raises awareness about the consequences of early deprivation for children under three years, such as behavioural problems, attachment disorder, and cognitive delay.

This 15-month project aimed to map the number and characteristics of children under three placed in European institutions for more than three months without a parent as this information was previously unknown. The purpose was to consider the use of institutions in 33 European countries as a response to children in adversity and to estimate the degree of early deprivation of parenting as a result of abuse, neglect and abandonment. A more in-depth investigation into the quality of institutional care was conducted in Denmark, France, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Turkey and United Kingdom. Overall, the project aimed to provide an evidence base for rates and costs of insitutionalisation and alternative care arrangements (e.g., foster care), as well as considering inter-country similarities and differences.

©Centre for Forensic and Family Psychology, Dr Ingrid Leth, Dr Marie Anaut, Dr Helen Agathonos, Dr Maria Herczog, Maria Keller-Hamela, Dr Violeta Stan, Anna Klimáčková, Prof. Sezen Zeytinoğlu, Dr Rebecca Johnson