The first results of an ongoing University of Minnesota study suggest that living in an orphanage can not only can hurt children psychologically but can harm them physically as well.I wasn't able to find the results on the U of M International Adoption Project website, so I know no more than was reported in the paper!
This information could serve to validate U.S. domestic policy, which since the 1970s has funded foster care in place of orphanages.
The study released Monday shows that through early development stages, the amount of one-on-one affection a child receives not only affects appetite but can also curb the way the brain’s pituitary gland and liver secrete growth hormone. University professor Dana E. Johnson led the study in six orphanages in Bucharest, Romania.
According to Johnson’s findings, children in orphanages displayed slowed growth and development, with more severe deficits among those who were born weighing less than 5.5 pounds.
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Though virtually nonexistent in the United States, orphanages remain prominent in eastern European, Asian and South American countries. Not only are these institutions not able to provide personal care, but even the interaction between children can be detrimental to their health.
“In eastern European and Asian countries, the children are [separated] by age,” Johnson said. “South American orphanages are set up with children of a variety of ages. It’s clear that those kinds of environments are better.”
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