Institutionalised Children

In many countries there are thousands of children living in orphanages for reasons, including abandonment, death, neglect, poverty, or simply being born with some medical condition. Many nations struggle to care for these children and appreciate help. Such help can take many forms; orphanage aid programmes, family reunification programmes, and adoption, both within the child's country and inter-country.

Life in an institution is not conducive to healthy development for a child. American studies show that for every three to four months a child lives in an orphanage, their development is delayed by one month. No matter how well resourced the orphanage is, institutionalised life can never replace the personal care of a loving family.

ICANZ works to find families for some of these children living in orphanages around the world. 

Adopting an Institutionalized Child: What are the Risks?
Dana Johnson, 2007

This study relates to International adoption in that it attempts to determine the short and long-term health of children that have been institutionalized with regards to body and mind development. His conclusions touch home because everyone wants to know will my child be healthy when I get him or not. What are my chances?
Dr. Johnson’s report addresses the following conclusions from various research surveys:

  • Don't expect your child to emerge from an orphanage unscathed.
  • Prepare in advance to rehabilitate your child. Institutionalised children are a high-risk group.
  • Make sure that you are prepared to take on the parenting challenges.
  • Optimism is appropriate.
  • Most families feel positively about their adoption.

Read about formerly institutionalised children now living in adoptive families.