Residential and foster care

Marinus H. IJzendoorn*, Marian J. Bakermans-Kranenburg, Stephen Scott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Children who cannot be looked after by their parents or close relatives often end up being cared for by state-run organizations. In many parts of the world, orphaned young infants are put into institutions that lack good quality intimate social relationships and cognitive stimulation. The effects on physical, neurobiological, cognitive and social development are often profound, with environmentally determined patterns of development seldom otherwise seen, such as quasi-autism and indiscriminate social behavior. Placement of such children into good-quality foster or adoptive care can lead to considerable catch up, but often social difficulties remain. A different kind of residential care is seen for looked after children who are too difficult to foster; again the outcomes are not good, often for several reasons, as such group-care homes are often not containing and may be prone to abusive practices. In contrast, foster care is usually associated with better outcomes, including the development of secure new attachments. New interventions to support foster-carers are proving successful, but there is a long way to go in improving institutional care and promoting better alternatives for the most vulnerable children.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRutter's Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Sixth Edition
PublisherJohn Wiley and Sons Ltd
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781118381953, 9781118381960
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2015


  • Catch-up growth
  • Deprivation
  • Disorganized attachment
  • Foster care
  • Orphans
  • Residential care


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