The Effects of Early Deprivation on Brain-Behavioral Development
The Bucharest Early Intervention Project
This chapter describes the Bucharest Early Intervention Project (BEIP) is a randomized controlled trial comparing the effects of foster care as an alternative to institutional care for young children abandoned at birth and placed in institutions in Bucharest, Romania. This study comprehensively assessed 136 children between the ages of 6 and 31 months who were institutionalized in all six of the institutions for young children in Bucharest, Romania, and followed them systematically through to 54 months of age. Institutionalization was associated with profoundly negative effects on child and brain development. Virtually all domains of development were compromised by institutional rearing: physical, brain, cognitive, linguistic, and social-emotional development. Nearly half of institutionalized children appeared to suffer from one or more forms of psychopathology. The good news is that foster care appeared to be effective in diminishing some forms of psychopathology and normalizing other domains of development; the bad news is that it was not affecting all domains of development, nor did full recovery occur in most domains assessed to date.
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