Modern-day orphanages: Exploring what it is like to grow up in a stable, long-term residential children's home

Date
2012-01-01
Authors
Zimmermann, Elizabeth
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Brenda J Lohman
Janet N Melby
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Altmetrics
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Human Development and Family Studies
Abstract

This study explored the nuances and dynamics of living in a stable, long-term residential home within a Christian community for foster children who (for varying reasons) are unable to reside with their families of origin. In essence, this study examined `modern-day orphanages' (a term used by McKenzie, 2010), a little studied alternative care format for foster youth. Using interviews and participatory observation to form a multi-perspective case study, this research explored the particular and unique care environment provided by Children's Hope (pseudonym), a modern-day orphanage located in the United States. Results are presented in two manuscripts. Themes from the first manuscript uncover the structural aspects of the organization, the intentionally created environment of the organization, and a typical day experienced by children; findings from this manuscript support the inclusion of modern-day orphanages as a viable alternative care format to the foster care system. Themes from the second manuscript ascertain how Children's Hope satisfies the child welfare goals of safety, permanency, and well-being. Given that the organization satisfies these goals, findings from this manuscript also support the inclusion of modern-day orphanages as a viable alternative care format to the foster care system. Overall, the findings from this study fill a substantial gap in the literature regarding modern-day orphanages and further inform policy and practice regarding placement for foster children.

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