Institutional Care for Young Children: Review of Literature and Policy Implications

Soc Issues Policy Rev. 2012 Mar 5;6(1):1-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-2409.2011.01033.x.


Millions of infants and toddlers are in institutional care around the world, care that is poorly suited to meet young children's developmental needs. In this article, we briefly review the history of institutional care and surrogate care. We then discuss why institutional care is at odds with children's needs, and review the empirical evidence regarding the effects of institutional care on young children's development. Finally, we discuss alternatives to institutional care, and make recommendations for changes.