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Romanian Orphans

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 03 November 2009

Claudia Hammond finds out how the hundreds of Romanian orphans who came to the UK 20 years ago have coped with their appalling treatment as babies.

  • ROMANIAN ORPHANS TWENTY YEARS ON

    Eminent child psychiatrist Professor Sir Michael Rutter (Institute of Psychiatry at King's) talks to Claudia Hammond about his English Romanian Adoptees Study.

    Nearly 20 years ago, 324 children arrived in the UK from Romanian orphanages, brought over by charities and families horrified at how the Ceausescu regime had treated these babies and toddlers.

    In a unique natural experiment, scientists tracked them as they grew up, measuring their physical, intellectual and emotional development over time. The studies have given an incredible insight into the extent to which babies who experienced little to no human contact, who were washed by being hosed down with cold water, can recover from appalling deprivation in institutions.

  • THE LONG TERM IMPACT ON CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE OF EARLY ABUSE AND NEGLECT

    Janet tells her story of abuse at the hands of an aunt and describes the help she received from London-based Kids Company, an organisation which supports children who have experienced violence and neglect. Camila Batmanghelidjh, Kids Company founder, says she believes that these children are suffering from a specific syndrome; they are exposed to more extreme violence than soldiers, but without the training. Dr Felicity de Zulueta, a consultant psychiatrist in psychotherapy who runs the Traumatic Stress Service at the Maudsley Hospital in south London, reviews the latest science on the long-term effects of abuse.

  • RETIREMENT AND MENTAL HEALTH

    We're all facing having to work for longer before we retire, but how does that impact on our mental health? Claudia asks Dr Mo Wang from the University of Maryland, who has just completed a vast study in the United States, what lessons we can learn here in the UK about later retirement and so-called 'bridge employment'.

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