Kristen Curtis

Publication Date

Fall 1997


This Independent Study Project attempts to uncover the workings of the orphanage system in Ghana, namely Osu Children's Home. My objectives were to develop a concrete understanding of the Home the physical organization, the goals and if they are being accomplished, staff involvement and the children of the Home. With background literature on child development as a guide, I chose to examine the following three behaviors exhibited from the children: (1) aggression, (2) attachment, and (3) play patterns. I was interested in finding if any differences were present in the three areas between the children in the Home and the outside children, both of which were students in the day care center. By participant observation in the day care center, formal and informal interviews with staff and the reading of children's case studies, I was able to achieve my objectives. However, several questions remain unanswered due to the large scope of the project in the short duration of time. I found that the Home is working to achieve its objectives, however factors, namely the role of the extended family, make a child's stay at the Home extensive. With the three behaviors of focus, I found that (1) the orphanage does not perpetuate aggression in its children, as both the Home and outside children were equally aggressive, (2) the Home children do tend to more readily attach to any caregiver as compared to outside children, and (3) the Home children and outside children's play patterns are both consistent with what is normal for their age group.