DOI: 10.1177/23493003231211563 ISSN: 2349-3003

Attachment Theory: It’s Absence and Role in Deinstitutionalisation Strategies

Chloe Banks
  • General Medicine

Institutional care for children without families is still widely used globally as a child protection intervention, despite concerns that it violates child rights, separates children from their families, puts children at risk of abuse and neglect and is harmful for child development. This article applied attachment theory to analyse the use and risks of institutional care. It also discusses the challenges and consequences of implementing deinstitutionalisation strategies, a series of policy-driven activities aimed at transitioning a child protection system from an institutional to family-based model of childcare. A secondary data analysis found the progressive elimination of institutions can be effective where deinstitutionalisation strategies implement an attachment approach to improve institutions alongside building permanency planning capacity for children. This article proposes that institutional care may have a role as a child protection intervention where it is temporary, recognises a child’s need for secure attachment and facilitates safe permanency in a family setting.

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