A robust body of evidence shows that nurturing family environments are associated with positive outcomes for children’s development, the same response to orphans. A family is able to provide a child with love, a sense of belonging, and a lifelong connection to a community of people. Within families, children learn and participate in family and cultural traditions, have a sense of shared history, and learn important social skills that help them engage and interact as family and community members later in life.
Research over the last 30 years has demonstrated that positive interaction between a child and parent or other primary caregivers significantly impacts the development of the brain. Children seek interaction with adults, especially in the early years between birth and 3 years of age. They babble, search for eye contact, and listen to the voices of their parents. The absence of this kind of warm, responsive, and reciprocal relationship between a child and an adult can result in damage to brain development.
In seminal studies, children raised in biological, foster, and adoptive families demonstrate better physical, intellectual, and developmental outcomes as compared to children living in institutional care. Even in small-scale orphanages, there can still be negative consequences to children’s development. For example, in a series of longitudinal studies of children in orphanages in Britain, high-quality food, shelter, and medical attention were provided to children in care. There was a positive child to caregiver ratio (i.e., one caregiver charged with a small number of children); however, children experienced multiple caregivers. Despite the higher quality of care provided, children were found to have identifiable negative effects on their social development. Research shows that the quality of material components of care (i.e., food and infrastructure) is not nearly as important as consistent and responsive child-caregiver interaction, especially in the early years.
While minimal or inconsistent caregiver interaction is found in many orphanages, it is also important to recognize that neglect may occur in homes. Therefore, programs that help “at-risk” families to better care for children and that address some of the underlying causes of parental or caregiver stress are critical. Investing in these kinds of programs, such as early childhood development centers, parenting support groups, livelihood support, and services that mitigate the negative impacts of poverty, have been shown to have long-lasting gains benefiting not only children and families but also communities and entire nations.
SOCIAL GOOD MESSAGE
Sparrows by morning, live in peaceful nests! Design shouldn’t dominate things, shouldn’t dominate people. It should help people. Don’t spend your time solving your favorite problems, solve problems that need to be solved, generically. A home is a place where you live, and society is a place where your story begins. Honesty shares honesty, as it is honesty’s nature. Stay always in Ablution and get back to the trust you have been, with.