Effective prevention of baby abandonment in Lovech district is essential for the success of the joint project being undertaken by EQ and Hope and Homes for Children – ‘Closure of Teteven Baby Home and development of alternative social services’.
We conducted a two-day training on 20-21 May 2010 for 15 representatives of child protection, maternity hospitals and regional health authorities. This involved exploring the concept of prevention, partnership networks for information exchange and joint work, effects of institutionalisation of babies and emergency foster care for babies and young children as an alternative to institutions.
A child raised in institutional care is typically deprived of the supportive, intensive, one-to-one relationship with a primary caregiver that is essential for optimal development. Evidence suggests that the neglect that can occur in institutional settings is damaging to brain development, leads to a number of social and behavioural problems, low social competence, ‘quasi-autistic’ or stereotypical behaviours and feeding problems in some severely deprived children. Infants who were raised in institutions would have serious learning difficulties, with specific difficulties in language development and the ability to pay attention. IQ is typically reported to be lower in children in institutions and language development is often delayed. The evidence suggests that they grow into adults who are less able to make social or economic contributions to society, are more likely to be involved in antisocial behaviour and to be unable to develop stable family units of their own.