INVESTIGATION INTO THE IMPACT OF ORPHANAGES HOME ON VULNERABLE CHILDREN PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT
1.1 BACKGROUDN TO THE STUDY
In 2007, an estimated 145 million children 0 to 17 years old were orphaned, having lost one or both parents (UNICEF 2008). Many millions of other children can be described as vulnerable, due to the effects of illness and poverty. There are many reasons for this situation, including conflict, disease, and accidents.
However, in recent times, a new and significant cause of the increase in children in orphanages home and vulnerable children has been the impact of the HIV pandemic. Worldwide, 15 million children have been orphaned due to AIDS, with 11.6 million orphans due to AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa alone (UNICEF 2008b). AIDS is also unique in its impact on double orphans, or children who have lost both parents. If one parent is living with HIV, there is a high likelihood that the other parent is as well and that a child will lose both parents in a short period of time. Children who are orphaned are more likely to suffer from detrimental health and nutritional outcomes; orphaned children are more likely to be stunted compared to non-orphans. Paternal orphans are also more likely to have suffered from recurring sickness in the past month compared to non-orphans. Additionally, caregivers of double and maternal orphans are less likely to report that the child has been sick in the last 12 months although maternal orphans are more than twice as likely to report being treated worse than other members of the household, compared to non-orphans (UNICEF 2006).
Estimating the number of children in orphanage homes and vulnerable children depends in large part on how orphans and vulnerable children are defined and on different methods used to project future levels of factors that cause children to be orphaned and made vulnerable, including the course of the HIV and AIDS pandemic.
Orphans tend to be defined as children aged under 18 who have lost their mother, father or both parents (UNAIDS et al. 2004).
Vulnerable children can be defined as children whose safety, well-being or development is at significant risk. Amongst others, such children can include children orphaned due to AIDS, children infected with HIV, children caring for terminally sick parents with AIDS, fostered children, children in poor households which have taken in orphans, disabled children, street children, children exposed to excessively hazardous labour, children involved in the sex industry, children affected by conflict, migrant children and children out of school. The extent to which such children can be said to be vulnerable will vary from place to place and community to community.
Children move in and out of various groups of vulnerability as their life circumstances change. It can be observed that while orphanhood often imposes a heavy burden on children, not all children orphaned are needy or poor. Similarly, there are many children who are not orphans but who are needy or vulnerable. Other factors, such as quality of parental care, the presence of conflict and families’ needs for children to work, can also act strongly to affect children’s vulnerability. Many such factors are not readily quantified or recognized, as a result, common understandings or definitions of vulnerability are difficult to achieve. While anecdotal evidence of the experience of orphans and vulnerable children exists, the extent of the ‘invisible’ causes of vulnerability remains unknown.
Rapid advances in biological and behavioural research show early childhood as a time of tremendous brain growth. It is during a child’s first few years that the neural connections that shape physical, social, cognitive, and emotional competence develop most rapidly and show the greatest ability to adapt and change. Connections and abilities formed in early childhood form the foundation of subsequent development. As a result, providing the right conditions for healthy early development is likely to be much more effective than treating problems later in life (centre on the Developing child 2007).
Just as strong foundations provide the basis for positive and healthy adaptations, weak foundations create physiological disruptions that can undermine subsequent learning, behaviour, and lifelong physical and mental health. This biological evidence explains how, in the absence of nurturing and supportive relationships—the type of environment in which many orphans and vulnerable Children live— adversity can create “toxic stress” that undermines all aspects of a child’s subsequent development, creating significant, physically based, and long-term obstacles to positive outcomes for these children. Centre on the Developing child (2010); Shonkoff (2010).
Vulnerability is a complex concept to define, as is illustrated in local/community definitions of vulnerability, which often include disabled or destitute children; in policy and support provision definitions, which list categories of children; and in working definitions, which are used in various.
A major concern is that the orphan estimates do not reflect children who are vulnerable but still living with parents, or children vulnerable due to other causes or in addition to AIDS. Countries seeking to quantify the current and future burden of orphan and vulnerable children (OVC) may need to supplement their data on orphans with information from a situation analysis that covers all vulnerable children.
There is a body of evidence that challenges the assumption that orphans are the most vulnerable children. Using non-enrolment and non-attendance rates in schools as proxies for vulnerability, studies by Ainsworth and Filmer (2002) and Huber and Gould (2003) found that in many countries poor children (rather than orphans) were most likely not to be enrolled in or to be out of school. Though generalizations across countries (28 countries in four regions in the Ainsworth and Filmer study) can be challenged, the link between poverty and vulnerability seems well established, suggesting that policies to raise enrolment among the poor will also have a positive impact on disadvantaged OVC. These findings seem to suggest that poverty at the community level is a main factor driving the conditions in which vulnerable children find themselves, and that if poverty is addressed, the quality of many children’s lives would be improved.
The future of any society depends on its ability to foster the health and well-being of the next generation” (2007), ensuring a strong start for orphans and vulnerable children is especially” important in societies facing high levels of HIV infection, where illness and death erode the ability of the adult generation to nurture children.
A child’s “environment of relationships” refers to the day-to-day interactions between the child and the people in the child’s world. This includes family members or caretakers in the home or institutional setting, as well as the people who interact more broadly with children, such as individuals and groups within a community, in school, and in health facilities (Shonkoff 2010). A large body of research documents that loving, supportive care and secure attachments are critically important for positive child development. The consistent presence of stable, caring adults is one of the most, if not the most, important protective factor in mitigating toxic stress of the kind that many orphans and vulnerable children(OVC) face (center on the Developing child 2010; Shonkoff 2010).
Intellectual development of children growing up in orphanages is thought to be at risk. Because of care in large groups and poor environments, brain development may become delayed during the formative period after birth (Chugani et al., 2001), and the lack of challenging stimuli and stable attachments may impair the intellectual development of institutionalized children (Gunnar, Bruce, & Grotevant, 2000; Johnson, 2000; Miller, 2005; Van IJzendoorn & Juffer, 2006).
More than 30 years ago, Dennis (1973) addressed the question of how large the cognitive delay of children in orphanages was compared to children
adopted into families. He studied children who were abandoned immediately after birth and were reared in children’s homes in Lebanon.
Some of the children were adopted around their third birthday, and others remained in children’s homes. Dennis found that at age 11, the average IQ
of the adopted children was within the range of normally developing children, whereas the non-adopted orphans were diagnosed as mentally retarded. In a meta-analysis on six studies, including 253 participants, we found strong evidence for Dennis’s finding, as the adopted children outperformed their siblings or peers left behind in terms of their performance on an IQ test with more than one standard deviation across studies (Van IJzendoorn & Juffer, 2005; Van IJzendoorn, Juffer, & Klein Poelhuis, 2005).
The intellectual development of institutionalized children has been studied for more than 60 years. Between 1930 and 1950 the first wave of studies documented that children in orphanages often showed a low IQ and severe language delays (Crissey, 1937; Durfee & Wolf, 1933). In later studies
similar delays were observed in the intellectual as well as the socio motional domains of development (Ainsworth, 1962; Bowlby, 1952; Ferguson, 1966; Freud & Burlingham, 1944; Provence & Lipton, 1962; Rheingold, 1956; Schaffer, 1965; Skeels, 1966; Spitz, 1945; Yarrow, 1961).
Children’s homes have been considered natural experiments into the necessary conditions for intellectual growth (Kaler & Freeman, 1994; MacLean, 2003; Sloutsky, 1997).
Recent research keeps showing the continuing negative influence of residential care on children’s development (Ahmad &Mohamad, 1996; Harden, 2002; Sloutsky, 1997; Sparling, Dragomir,Ramey, & Florescu, 2005; St. Petersburg-USA Orphanage Research Team,2005; Vorria et al., 2003; Yagmurlu, Berument, & Celimli, 2005; Zeanah,Smyke, Koga, & Carlson, 2005).
It is because of the detrimental developmental effects that in many Western countries the number of orphanages has steadily decreased during the past half a century. In the past few decades many studies on orphanages have come from developing countries (Frank, Klass, Earls, & Eisenberg,1996). Nevertheless, children’s homes still exist in the United States of America (http://www.orphanage.org) as well as in Europe. Browne et al.(2005) asked health care officials in more than 30 European countries about the number of children under 3 years of age growing up in children’s homes 342 Merrill-Palmer Quarterly in 2003. They found that throughout Europe 11.2 children per 10,000 resided in children’s homes, with the Czech Republic having the largest number of young children in residential care, namely 60 per 10,000. In Africa the number of children’s homes is currently increasing because of the many AIDS/HIV orphans who cannot be cared for anymore by members of the extended family (Kodero, 2001; Madhavan, 2004; Nyambedha, Wandibba, & Aagaard-Hansen, 2003).
When rearing children in orphanages remains or becomes necessary because alternatives are lacking, the crucial issue is which conditions might
relieve or decrease the negative impact of institutional care. Depending on the type of explanation for the intellectual delays, one may have different ideas about more or less favorable conditions in children’s homes. The maternal deprivation concept (Bowlby, 1951) states that a stable and continuous attachment relationship with a sensitive caregiver is essential for
socio emotional as well as for intellectual development. If this is true, children’s homes with more sensitive caregivers and smaller groups might be less damaging to intellectual development. The stimulus deprivation theory (Casler, 1961) suggests that the lack of physical and social stimuli of any kind may be the most important cause of intellectual delays, and enriching the orphanage environment would result in better intellectual development.
Of course, these theories are not incompatible, and they both may point to
important components of more favorable children’s home environments. The study on Metera children’s home in Greece by Vorria and her colleagues (2003) showed the relevance of caregiver sensitivity for the children’s development. It also showed the lower sensitivity of caregivers compared to parents and the discontinuity in care arrangements in a 24-hour residential care setting, sometimes with toddlers having experienced more than 50 different caregivers. In an earlier study in the same institution,
Vorria et al. (1998a, 1998b) showed that siblings were able to derive comfort
from each other’s presence in the group. In a groundbreaking intervention
study, Groark, Muhamedrahimov, Palmov, Nikiforova, and McCall (2005) demonstrated that promoting caregiver sensitivity leads to better socioemotional and cognitive development of the children involved and a better atmosphere in the groups consisting of children of differing ages. Caregiver-child ratio might also be important. Groark and colleagues (2005) managed to decrease the number of children per caregiver, which promoted children’s development significantly.
Cognitive stimulation may be another important factor in children’s homes. Morison, Chisholm, and Ames (1995) showed that with increasing amount of play materials, developmental delays decreased in children adopted from orphanages (see also Kaler & Freeman, 1994). Intervention IQ In Orphanages 343 studies by Hakimi-Manesh, Mojdchi, and Tashakkori (1984) and Hunt, Mohandessi, Ghodssi, and Akiyama (1976) demonstrated the reversibility of intellectual delays when a more stimulating and enriched environment was offered. Similar findings emerged from correlational studies in wellequipped orphanages (Klackenberg, 1956; Tizard & Rees, 1974). Enhanced cognitive stimulation might have also been the working ingredient of the Groark et al. (2005) intervention, as their intervention changes pertained to almost all aspects of group life.
Age of the children and the duration of their stay in the orphanage may also play a role in the degree to which group care affects children’s intellectual development. One would expect that younger entry into the orphanage (Sloutsky, 1997) and a longer stay (Sloutsky, 1997; Spitz, 1945) would be more detrimental, but the evidence is equivocal. For example, Vorria et al. (1998) and Kaler and Freeman (1994) did not find an association between age at entry and intellectual development. Aboud and colleagues (1991) reported even positive effects: younger children performed better on cognitive tests. With equivocal and sometimes contrasting findings, the field of research on the effects of orphanages on intellectual development is ripe for a quantitative review of the available evidence. In the current article we report on a series of meta-analyses of the extant empirical studies published
during the past seven decades.
The following hypotheses were tested. First, we addressed the question of whether children reared in children’s homes were delayed in their intellectual development compared to children growing up in families and how large this delay on average would be. Second, we examined some factors that may influence the delays. Besides some characteristics of the studies involved, such as year of publication, type of publication, kind of comparison group, and the type of cognitive test, we explored the influence of sample characteristics.
We also tested whether gender plays a role in affecting the size of cognitive delays (Vorria et al.  found that girls suffered less from their stay in a children’s home) and whether the age of the children was important, not only at entry in the children’s home but also at time of assessment. Our hypothesis was that earlier entry into group care would lead to larger delays
later. Also, the future prospects of the children—whether they were to be adopted or not—might be relevant because the children to be adopted might
be relatively less deprived to begin with (Van IJzendoorn & Juffer, 2005). Lastly, some characteristics of the children’s homes were studied, in particular caregiver-child ratio and economic level of the country of residence, with the hypothesis that orphanages in richer countries and homes with more favorable caregiver-child ratio’s may provide better cognitive stimulation and lead to less cognitive delay of the children in their care.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Poor health and little stimulation resulting from inadequate care can affect the orphans and vulnerable children’s ability to think, learn and function effectively. As the HIV pandemic continues to expand, the impact on children cannot be overstated. Children who are orphaned by HIV/AIDS become vulnerable to a whole host of dangers in the name of supporting themselves and their siblings. This paper investigate a summary of impact of orphanage homes on vulnerable children personality development in selected primary schools in Lagos state and examines some of the factors responsible for orphanhood and vulnerability.
1.3 PURPOSE OF STUDY
The purpose of this study is to share the practical experiences of humanitarian and government agencies and civil society organizations in seeking to address the educational rights and needs of orphans and vulnerable children in orphanage homes. By raising important questions that emerge from those experiences, it is hoped that practitioners will be able to consider the relevance of different approaches to their own contexts and needs. We hope that the lessons learned from these case studies may illuminate the design of future interventions aimed at assisting orphans and vulnerable children to realize their right to education and personal development.
By recording practical experiences of existing interventions, this Research aims to inform decisions taken by people and organizations working towards he personal development of children in orphanage homes and goal of universal primary education from a human rights-based approach. As we have found with previous books following this format, the information is particularly valued by education practitioners in formal and non-formal venues, programme managers and planners, and government policymakers.
Every child has the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and the right to a standard of living adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development. It is good to recognize that children have a wide range of needs – including, love, safety, nutrition and play – that are fundamental in and of themselves, and that only in concert with these can the right to education enable them to reach their fullest potential. The inattention to any of these needs puts a child at a disadvantage, limiting his or her opportunity to grow physically, cognitively, socially and emotionally.
To achieve this, the researcher intends:
1. To investigate the impact of orphanage home on vulnerable children personal development
2. Explore the influence of caregivers’ attitude on vulnerable children personal development.
3. Determine if environment factor will have a significant effect on vulnerable children personal development
4. Determine if Child factor will significantly influence personal developmental.
5. Determine if Nutrition will have an effect on vulnerable children personal development.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. Will orphanage homes have an impact on vulnerable children personal development?
2. Will caregivers’ attitude influence vulnerable children personal development?
3. Will environment factor have a significant effect on vulnerable children personal development?
4. Will Child factor influence vulnerable children personal developmental?
5. Will Nutrition have an effect on vulnerable children personal development?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES