Forgotten children? An update on young children in institutions across Europe

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The worst of institutional care was brought to public attention in Romania during the 1990s when pictures of severely deprived and malnourished children were shown around the world. However, many European countries have high rates of young children in institutions, where the physical care of the child predominates, with social/emotional needs a secondary concern. Yet institutional care is a very poor substitute for positive family care, increasing the risk of development delay, attachment difficulties, neural growth dysfunction and mental health disorders. This article provides an update on a series of projects that have highlighted this issue in Europe, arguing that babies and small children aged less than 3years old, with or without disability, should not be placed in residential care without a parent or primary caregiver. This principle has been discussed by the UN General Assembly (2009) and specific guidelines have been produced for all 193 member states.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)911-914
Number of pages4
JournalEarly Human Development
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


  • Child
  • Child Custody
  • Child, Institutionalized
  • Child, Preschool
  • Europe
  • Foster Home Care
  • Humans
  • Infant


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