Abandoned Children and Abandonment Trauma

abandoned children

Children who are abandoned by their parents often suffer from a variety of mental and emotional issues. This condition, known as abandonment trauma, can leave them feeling unsafe and unimportant. It can also increase their chances of developing substance abuse or eating disorders in adulthood. Abandonment trauma should be considered a serious social problem which requires the attention of mental health professionals and public officials alike.

Physically abandoned children live in extreme poverty and are vulnerable to violence, malnutrition and disease. They often wander the streets, eat whatever scraps they can find and sleep in makeshift shelters like doorways or in shacks. They are often left to fend for themselves with little or no help from relatives, friends or local government agencies. In some cases, they are forced to sell illegal goods or resort to prostitution for survival. There are over 20 million abandoned children living in the world today, a large majority of them being orphans.

Psychologically abandoned children experience a different type of trauma, though it is just as damaging as the physical kind. Abandoned children often feel unloved and unwanted, even when their parents try to show them affection. The lack of positive reinforcement in their lives leads them to develop a core belief that they are not worthy of receiving love or care from anyone else. As a result, they often have difficulty maintaining healthy relationships as adults. They may be reluctant to trust others and have a pattern of volatile relationships, switching from one person to the next.

Parents may abandon their children for a variety of reasons, from mental illness to domestic abuse. It’s not uncommon for them to have a history of child neglect or abuse themselves, especially in cases of willful parental abandonment. However, it’s important to remember that just because a parent’s history includes mistreatment or neglect as a child doesn’t mean they are automatically guilty of abandonment as an adult.

Most states have laws which protect the rights of children who are physically or emotionally abandoned by their parents. These laws vary by state, but usually a parent who withdraws from their children will not be able to get them back until they have been legally declared incompetent to make decisions for themselves. In some cases, a parent who has been uninvolved for a long time will recognize their mistake and wish to re-engage with their children.

Typically, when a child is found to be abandonded in a hospital, the case workers of the Department of Children, Youth and Families or DCYF will work to place them with foster or adoptive families. This process is lengthy, and many kids are placed with temporary homes while they wait for a more permanent placement. In some cases, DCYF has sent kids to stay at hotels or offices, but a 2021 court ruling required the agency to wind down such placements.