Foster Children Experience Marked IQ Gains Over Institutionalized Orphans
Abandoned children who receive foster care receive an average eight- to ten-point IQ boost over those who enter orphanages, shows a new study on abandoned Romanian children.
The study monitored 136 children aged 31 months or less who were assigned institutionalized care. Half of these children entered foster care, at an average age of 21 months. Follow-up assessments including standardized intelligence testing were conducted at 30, 42 and 56 months.
Results showed that children who lived with foster families had IQs an average of ten points higher than those raised in institutions, where interaction was limited. This difference was especially pronounced for children who entered foster care early on, with every extra month a child spent institutionalized equating to a one-point drop in IQ. Unfortunately, compared to a control group of children who were never institutionalized, foster children still experienced an average deficit of ten points.
The findings suggest a sensitive time during cognitive development in which family placement is critical. In this study, the critical age for being moved to foster care was 24 months, although researchers stress the need for more research to pinpoint this period.
Previous research has shown the detrimental physical and emotional effects of institutionalized care on children. This study is the first to concretely demonstrate the drop in IQ when children are raised in institutions.
When the study began in 2000, foster care was virtually non-existent in Romania and researchers had to recruit and screen their own foster families. Following the results, the government barred institutionalizing healthy children under the age of two.
ABSTRACT: Cognitive Recovery in Socially Deprived Young Children: The Bucharest Early Intervention Project
Posted by FindCounseling.com Staff on December 20, 2007 at 05:34 AM | Permalink
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