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Child Health: Orphanage vs. Foster Care, A Study

St. Louis: Are children that are raised in Foster homes better off than children from the orphanages? Researchers are suggesting that children from the orphanages don’t grow to their full capacity- physically, // emotionally and intellectually. But this is not irreversible - when the same children were put under foster care, showed remarkable improvement in the deficient areas.

Romania’s experiment of Foster homes, that included children from the infamous orphanages, is an example of the impact that nurturing and caring received at foster homes can have on the children’s overall well being. The children portrayed marked improvement in their physical, emotional and intellectual growth. They began to gain weight and symptoms of anxiety and depression began to vanish.

"An orphanage is a bad place for a child to grow up in," Dr Dana Johnson, a pediatrician and adoption specialist at the University of Minnesota, told a news conference.

This study was the first of its kind carried by Johnson and colleagues, funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation that involved the comparison of children growing in orphanages with those raised under foster care, and in normal family set-up. The Romanian Government allowed the experiment and 69 children were placed in foster homes. 67 other children were left at the orphanages itself. The researchers basically jotted down comparisons among the two groups.

Dr. Nathan Fox of the University of Maryland told reporters "At age of entry, institutionalized children are doing very poorly compared to community controls. Their mean IQ score is close to the retarded range compared to community children and compared to standard norms. The good news is ... foster-care children showed increases in IQ at 42 and 54 months (4 1/2 years)." Girls were faring better than the boys.

These findings apply to all the children, and are not Romania specific.

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