Maltreated children's emerging well-being in Japanese state care

Sachiko Bamba, Wendy Haight

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This study focuses on the experiences and challenges of maltreated Japanese children who live in state care. Previous research identified Ibasho creation as one developmental goal of children's substitute caregivers. Ibasho is a place where one experiences a peace of mind, security, acceptance, and belonging, and is considered necessary to psychological and social well-being. Socialization practices which may support children's Ibasho creation included mimamori, that is, watching over children warmly as a protective figure with minimal adult interference. The current study elaborates upon maltreated children's own experiences of Ibasho creation within the institution, as well as caregivers' perceptions of challenges to their Ibasho creation. Participant observation and in-depth interviews with children and adults indicated that children created their Ibasho within and outside of the institution. Many children described enjoyment in relaxing in private spaces and playing or chatting with peers in communal spaces. The presence of caring, accepting, and trustworthy adults was critical for their Ibasho creation. Children described negative experiences such as rejection by peers, bullying, and lack of understanding from others as contributing to an absence of Ibasho. Adults described extended and early institutionalization, as well as ongoing problematic family relationships, as challenges to children's Ibasho creation. Results underscore characteristics of the physical and social ecologies that may support maltreated children's recovery, adjustment, and development. Implications for U.S. child welfare research and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)797-806
Number of pages10
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Japanese child welfare
  • Maltreated children
  • Well-being


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