“We see the same continuum of bad and good care in the group homes as we see in the family settings,” says Whetten.
For the last 12 years Whetten has been following 3,000 kids who were orphaned, abandoned or for some other reason separated from their biological parents. The professor of public policy and global health at Duke is conducting the study in five low- and middle-income countries. Half the kids are in institutions of some kind — government-run orphanages, private group homes. The other half have been placed with extended family members.
“What the kids really seem to need is a home-like environment,” Whetten says.