What are the negative impacts of institutionalisation?

Institutions do not encourage children to become attached to a significant adult. The consequences include:

  • poor self-confidence, low self-worth and esteem
  • lack of empathy and understanding of others
  • indiscriminate affection toward adults and lack of understanding of appropriate boundaries
  • aggression towards others, cruelty to animals; negative and anti-social behaviours
  • stereotypical behaviours, self-stimulation and self-harming
  • poor cognitive development, academic underachievement
  • poor moral development (difficulty understanding right and wrong)
  • problems with relationships in childhood and adulthood
  • delinquent behaviour in adolescence and young adulthood

Source: Deinstitutionalising and transforming children’s services. A guide to good practice, European Commission Daphne Programme July 2007

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