Growing up without a family

Adriana Baban, Diana Taut, Oana Marcu, Catrinel Craciun

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Although since 1990, Romania made a significant progress in creating a coherent legislative framework, building small and family-like residential structures and trying to reintegrate abandoned children in their biological families, little attention was devoted to understanding subjective, daily experiences of children growing without family. This paper aims to gain insight into personal experiences associated with life in institution with a focus on actors, service, transition facilities that the children experienced as well as their possible solutions to the problem of abandonment. 45 young adults (aged 18 to 28) that had experienced out of family state care were invited to participate in the study. By the means of life history technique, 20 participants were organized in 3 focus groups, were asked to complete the unfinished story of a fictional institutionalized character. Data from the rest of the participants were collected by the means of individual interviews. Topics were identified according to study aims and categories that emerged from data. One of the most salient themes that came out referred to the causes of abandonment, and personal experiences in institutions depicted along two dimensions: stressors that the child encounters and the coping strategies he uses to get along. The main actor in determining the child path seems to be the child himself, while the while the family plays a secondary role in youngsters’ narratives. The participants also emphasized some major problems within institutions as well as possible solutions, referring to file management, emotional and financial support from the social services, educational strategies employed and low motivation of personnel. Possible conclusions and implications of these personal accounts are discussed at the end of the chapter.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFamilia monoparentala si fenomene conexe
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • child protection
  • institutionalization
  • out of family care
  • separated children


Dive into the research topics of 'Growing up without a family'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this