Reform in Institutional Child CareDecember 21, 2010
For centuries, an institutional culture that encourages caregivers to stay detached and disengaged from their children as a means of facilitating possible transitions or changes of venue has been the primary method in which abandoned children are cared for. These traditional orphanages lead to social isolation through their method of “detached care,” and in more recent years reform in these practices has proven beneficial to the normal growth and healthy development of children, especially infants and children 1-5 years of age.
The institutional culture discourages emotional attachments, with an intent to minimize the work for caregivers. This is achieved through highly directive and disengaged care. Childcare under this method is treated as a job and children are not prompted to develop emotional attachments. The time a caregiver spends with a child is limited to the amount of time that it takes for them to carry out the task at hand. Creativity and individuality are neither encouraged nor rewarded and as a result children do not develop an individualized identity.(reference)
With cries going unanswered for the majority of their young lives, children raised under this outdated method of child care become reclusive and isolated from the world around them. They can exhibit violent and aggressive behavior and oftentimes they display an inability to relate to themselves and others. Once out of this type of orphanage, they lack the necessary skills to connect and interact with the world around them.
Statistically, after graduating out of the orphanage system 60% of girls turn to prostitution and 70% of boys become hardened criminals. (reference) Under the “institutional culture’s” practices children are oftentimes sent out without the proper understanding and knowledge of how the world around them works and as a result are set up for failure.
Recent research by specialists in this field has uncovered that even the length of time that is spent within an institutional environment can have an adverse effect on the development of the brains cognitive functions; specifically, the region of the brain that is in control of visual attention and memory. This damage caused by early attention deprivation is difficult to reverse. Children are commonly left without the skills necessary to make decisions on what is acceptable and appropriate behavior. (reference)
Furthermore, poor institutionalized care can increase the chances of infectious agents (meningitis, whooping cough, chicken pox, rubella and more) little to no education being acquired, bad nutrition, and finally a lack of motor skills due to stimulation and attention deprivation.
Given findings of the long term effects of childhood neglect, homes across the world have begun to reform the manner in which child care is approached, implementing a more hands-on and engaged method. More emphasis is being placed on children developing emotional relationships with those in charge of caring for them. Homes are encouraging childcare providers to respond to a child’s actions in a more sensitive and engaged manner, in essence, to treat them as they would treat their own children. (reference)
This allows children to grow to be more self-sufficient, independent and creative, thus increasing their likelihood for success when they are on their own.
At Kitechild, we strongly encourage this new model of childcare within our network, and many homes on our site currently employ this more effective and hands on approach. Some of these include Door of Faith, Tashirat, Flying Kites and more. It is our goal to spread the wealth of knowledge and information on best practices and make it accessible for Children’s Homes not aware of these psychological findings to know how to better improve the standards of care practices. For more information on this issue and to receive basic steps on how to move to this reformed style of childcare please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About KitechildKitechild, is a not-for-profit organization, was launched December of 2010 by two UCLA college graduates. The founders envisioned using the power of the internet in the age of social media, to provide a unified solution to many of the challenges orphanages face in providing resources and opportunities to orphans in the developing world. View all posts by Kitechild → This entry was posted in Guest Posts, Research. Bookmark the permalink. ← First Success Story! Kitechild Notches Success with Member Tashirat! →
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