Everyone remembers the shocking pictures of Romanian orphans, tied to their cots in squalid institutions. Decades on, many children are still being held in old-style institutions.
Babies at the pediatric unit are unnaturally quiet. They've learnt there's no point in crying. "They have no affiliation, no stability", laments supervisor Dr Monica Nicoara. Previously, many of these babies would have been adopted by Western families. But foreign adoptions are now banned and authorities want to find Romanian families for abandoned children. However this new system has failed many of the country's most vulnerable. Ricardo and George ended up on the streets after their parents abandoned them. They've given up on the state and now take care of each other.
From Romania With LoveIn 1990 Romania, the world was stunned by what was revealed: Images of orphanages, of starving, freezing unloved children, suffering shocking untold misery.
Crammed into small rooms, bed-bound on rotting faeces stained matresses, they were closeted away from the society and often malnourished.
Many of them in fact were not orphans, but had been placed in the institutions by the desperately poor families who had been forced to have more children than necessary as part of Nicolae Ceausescu’s insane population building policy.
Thousands of parents all over the world responded by going to Romania to adopt a child. In some cases it took as little as two weeks to complete the process.
324 children were officially adopted into English families and 787 into Irish families. This documentary will tell some of their stories, as we trace the progress of a group of these Romanian orphans and their adoptive families.
Findings from the Bucharest Early Intervention Project Early Life DeprivationExperience is the engine that drives much of postnatal brain development. When children are deprived of key (i.e., experience-expected) experiences, particularly during critical periods of development, brain and behavioral development can be derailed. There is perhaps no more egregious form of deprivation than being raised in large, state-run institutions. Charles Nelson (Harvard Medical School) discusses the Bucharest Early Intervention Project, a long-term study that includes infants abandoned to institutions. Recorded on 10/11/2019. [Show ID: 35285]
More from: Impact of Early Life Deprivation on Cognition: Implications for the Evolutionary Origins of the Human Mind
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The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Child DevelopmentThe Cambridge Encyclopedia of Child Development remains the most authoritative and accessible account of all aspects of child development. Written by an international team of experts, its comprehensive coverage includes everything from prenatal development to adolescence, pediatrics, theories and research methods, physical development, social and emotional development, perceptual and cognitive development, language development, psychopathology, and parenting. The second edition has also been thoroughly updated to reflect major developments over the last decade in areas such as neuroscientific methods, developmental cognitive and social neuroscience, the effects of environmental influences on gene expression, and the relationship between human development and evolution. Throughout 124 entries, the Encyclopedia advocates an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to the study of child development.
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Romania's Abandoned ChildrenThe implications of early experience for children's brain development, behavior, and psychological functioning have long absorbed caregivers, researchers, and clinicians. The 1989 fall of Romania's Ceausescu regime left approximately 170,000 children in 700 overcrowded, impoverished institutions across Romania, and prompted the most comprehensive study to date on the effects of institutionalization on children's well-being. Romania's Abandoned Children, the authoritative account of this landmark study, documents the devastating toll paid by children who are deprived of responsive care, social interaction, stimulation, and psychological comfort. Launched in 2000, the Bucharest Early Intervention Project (BEIP) was a rigorously controlled investigation of foster care as an alternative to institutionalization. Researchers included 136 abandoned infants and toddlers in the study and randomly assigned half of them to foster care created specifically for the project. The other half stayed in Romanian institutions, where conditions remained substandard. Over a twelve-year span, both groups were assessed for physical growth, cognitive functioning, brain development, and social behavior. Data from a third group of children raised by their birth families were collected for comparison. The study found that the institutionalized children were severely impaired in IQ and manifested a variety of social and emotional disorders, as well as changes in brain development. However, the earlier an institutionalized child was placed into foster care, the better the recovery. Combining scientific, historical, and personal narratives in a gripping, often heartbreaking, account, Romania's Abandoned Children highlights the urgency of efforts to help the millions of parentless children living in institutions throughout the world.