Child and Youth Care Forum

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 87–111

Orphanage alumni: How they have done and how they evaluate their experience


DOI: 10.1007/BF02589359

Cite this article as:
McKenzie, R.B. Child Youth Care Forum (1997) 26: 87. doi:10.1007/BF02589359


Critics of long-term institutional stays for children charge that such stays damage children emotionally, intellectually, and behaviorally. This article reports the findings of the first large survey of middle-aged and older adults who several decades ago spent a significant portion of their childhoods in institutions that provided long-term care for disadvantaged children—“orphanages.” The study covers the survey responses of nearly 1,600 alumni from nine homes in the South and Midwest. The general conclusion drawn from the survey responses stands in sharp contrast to conventional professional opinion: As a group, the “orphans” have outpaced their counterparts in the general population by significant margins on practically all social and economic measures covered, not the least of which are education, income, and attitude toward life.

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.the Graduate School of ManagementUniversity of California at IrvineIrvine

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