Start Here

Children leaving residential care are frequently unprepared for independent life. This can result in unemployment, homelessness, conflict with the law, sexual exploitation, and poor parenting requiring increased expenses associated with health, education, and legal services that may result in longer-term costs to society.

“Where care institutions are cut off from communities, children are prevented from developing social networks essential for later life…After years of following a structured routine in which they exercise little or no choice they may not know how to navigate an independent life. They may not know how to cook, how to handle money, or how to use their initiative. They are especially vulnerable to exploitation and abuse as they are less aware of their rights and accustomed to following instructions without question. They may be less able to find work or to develop social relationships… Generally, children leaving care are more likely to be dependent on the State and other service-providers for their own wellbeing and survival and less able to contribute to economic growth and social development.” 1

One study revealed that children who had spent at least the first two years of their life in residential care were likely to have more social and emotional problems than other children, and more disruptions in their lives. 2

[1] Keeping Children Out of Harmful Institutions: Why We Should Be Investing in Family-Based Care. Save the Children, 2009.[2] IQ and Behavioral Adjustment of Ex-Institutional Adolescents. Jill Hodges and Barbara Tizard, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 1989.

To learn more about the impact of institutional care on children, see these Resources.