cd paper - What emotional and behavioral risks do children...

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What emotional and behavioral risks do children placed in institutional care at an early age face? The first few years of an infant’s life are the most crucial years for developing positive, secure attachments to an adult caregiver. According to John Bowlby , children who form an attachment to an adult are more likely to survive (as cited in Kail, 2006) . Throughout the world, there is an overwhelming amount of children placed in institutional care at young ages. In a 2004 survey of 32 European countries, conducted by Browne, Hamilton- Giacritsis, Johnson, Agathonos, Anaut, and Herczog, there are approximately 23,000 children, in a population of 20.6 million children under the age of three, in institutional care for more than three months, without a parent (as cited by Johnson, Browne, and Hamilton-Giachritsis, 2006) . Children are placed in institutional care for a variety of reasons: parental unwillingness to care for children with disabilities, parental financial inability to care for children, a loss of parental rights due to abuse or neglect are just some of the most prominent reasons. While the reasons vary, the effects of a lack of attachment prove to be detrimental to children all over the world. The research on this topic is invaluable to countries across the globe – more information can help shape and reshape the operation of institutions and
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social policy, and inform therapeutic interventions that can help these affected children learn how to fit into today’s society. Through the various studies and research conducted in previous years, there is clear evidence that supports the notion that children placed into institutional care before developing a secure attachment to a caregiver has a profound detrimental effect on children’s emotional, behavioral, and cognitive development. According to John Bowlby , children who form an attachment to an adult are more likely to survive (as cited by Kail, 2006) . Perry and Pollard’s 1998 study states that “the human infant is genetically predisposed to respond to a caregiver who will respond to, talk to, and handle them in a sensitive way and introduce new stimuli in a manner that is safe, predictable, gradual, and appropriate to the infant’s stage of development” (as cited by Johnson, Browne, and Hamilton-Giachritsis, 2006, pp. 36) . However, children in institutional care do not receive this necessary care and attachment. Due to the fact that children almost always outnumber the staff, they do not receive the essential one-to-one relationship with a primary caregiver that is necessary to developing attachments. Without a one-to-one caregiver relationship, there is no process to guide synaptic connections and neural development
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(Johnson et al., 2006) .
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This note was uploaded on 05/06/2008 for the course PSYC 581 taught by Professor Leichtman during the Fall '08 term at New Hampshire.

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cd paper - What emotional and behavioral risks do children...

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