Children in Orphanages

While not all orphanages are created equally, most people agree that “orphanages, regardless of quality of care, negatively impact children.” Orphanages can not provide the same level of safety or stability that can be provided by foster and adoptive families.

Children in orphanages are usually grouped together by age and frequently have a care giver ratio of 1-2 caregivers to every 8-12 children. Low caregiver ratio results in inadequate nurturing and stimulation.

Children who reside in orphanages are at an increased risk for developmental delays and behavioral disorders and traumatized children rarely receive treatment unless they are adopted. Malnutrition, misdiagnosis and lack of medical care contribute to an increased risk of a serious or preventable illness in orphaned children.

“The longer a child is in an orphanage the more profound the Post-Institutional Effects (PIE.)” While most adopted children can be expected to grow and thrive in their new homes, PIE can adversely affect both adopted children and orphanage graduates throughout their lives.

Those most profoundly affected are children who graduate from the orphanage system. Orphanage graduates often lack life skills, and fail to learn values due to the impossible task of “parenting” themselves. An unhealthy developmental process may result in failure to obtain secure attachments, social and emotional delays. This makes recent graduates vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

Upon graduation, children are unprepared for adulthood and often face the same poverty, lack of education, and other societal issues that their parents faced. Unfortunately, there are few programs in place to assist them and their prognosis is bleak.  Crime, prostitution, premature death, and drug and alcohol addiction are just a few of the problems that most will be faced with.