Self and Self-Esteem in Young People in Need of Protection and Care in Turkey

Academic Paper, 2021

18 Pages, Grade: 100


Table of content



The aim of the study

1. Concept of Self

2. The Concept of Self-Esteem

3. Characteristics of Young People in Need of Protection and Care in Turkey

4. Self and Self-Esteem in Young People in Need of Protection and Care in Turkey




The environment of well-being and trust provided by a healthy family institution is extremely important in terms of the self-development, self-esteem, and mental health of individuals. Young people in need of protection and care may encounter various negative problems in terms of emotional, social, mental, and language development due to deficiencies in this regard. The youth period is considered a critical period in terms of the self-development and self-esteem of individuals. One of the problems faced by young people in need of protection and care is the depressions which they experience in terms of ego and self-esteem. They must open up to the social environment and socialize, for the formation of their personalities and their upbringing. These young people, who have a reduced capacity to cope with the problems they will encounter in life, experience various problems. Studies have shown that young people in need of protection and care have low self-esteem and, accordingly, their capacity to cope with their problems may decrease and their psychological problems may increase. They are often lonely and unemployed after leaving State Protection. In this study, the ego and self-esteem of young people in Turkey in need of protection and care were evaluated within the framework of the literature.


The idea that a person must grow up in a family consisting of parents and siblings for a person to develop physically, mentally, and spiritually is put forward by scientists from different branches. It is an important fact that family and environmental factors have an important place in the development and education of the child. The family environment that the child enters with his birth constitutes his first social environment. The first objective and interpersonal relationships in a child's life develop under the family environment. Therefore, the family plays a very important role in the physical, mental and emotional development of human personality (Erim, 2001). The foundations of behavioral models with concepts such as good, bad, right, and wrong are also laid under the influence of the family. The relationship of the child with the family in the early stages of his life has a physiological character in the form of nutrition, protection, and meeting other physical needs. In addition, some primitive emotions such as contentment and discontent begin to develop in this environment.

The most important task of the family is to meet the physiological and emotional needs of the child, to transfer the existing culture of the society to the children, as well as to provide them with a way to acquire their own identity and develop their values ​​by creating a safe and supportive environment. As the individual is prepared for adult life by important people such as parents, teachers, who loves himself, trusts his abilities, accepts himself as aware of his positive and negative characteristics, can reveal his personality without conflict with the society in which he lives, is responsible and can establish healthy relationships. A healthy society is possible by raising individuals with healthy personalities. It is inevitable for children, who are deprived of the closeness, love, and warmth of their parents, to be exposed to personality development disorders, to be unable to adapt to society, and to have some deficiencies in terms of development.

The segment, defined as children and young people who are at risk and display risky behaviors, require protection and care, have a tendency to violence, frequently fight, use drugs or alcohol, are pushed into crime, run away from home, run away from school, harm themselves, work on the street, risky refers to children and young people who show sexual behavior and have behavioral problems. These children and adolescents are often stigmatized; they lack skills, loneliness, and exclusion. They are expelled from school, pushed to live on the street, and to crimes. He has physical and mental problems and encounters legal problems (Öğel, 2005).

The fact that the income is low and the income distribution is unequal and the migration from rural areas to big cities in Turkey compel many families to struggle with lack of education, unhealthy diet, and poverty. For this reason, in many families, children and young people are given institutional care due to financial difficulties. Some children also need institutional care for reasons such as being thrown out of the house frequently by their families, running away from home, being abused in the family, not having a family, or being left unattended even though they have a family. If children have to be separated from their families in some way, it is necessary to provide them with the most suitable alternative family or institution. This duty is given to the State by law.

According to article 3/b of the Social Services Law No. 5799, "child in need of protection";

"Their physical, mental and moral development or personal safety is in danger;

Without mother or father, without mother and father,

Unknown mother or father or both,

Abandoned by her parents or both,

A child who is neglected by his mother or father and left vulnerable to all kinds of social dangers and bad habits such as prostitution, begging, using alcoholic beverages or drugs, and dragged into straying is defined. It is important for the development and health of the society that children and young people in need of protection and care should be prepared for adult life at least as much as children and young people living with their families. Social workers, psychologists, teachers, doctors, nurses, and child development professionals who provide services to them help them to prepare for the future in the best way by performing their duties and responsibilities that require professional and teamwork related to their psycho-social development, education, and health. However, institutions or home environments that provide services to children and young people in need of protection and care cannot always give the warmth and trust of the family to children and cannot meet their physiological and emotional needs. On the contrary, it does not solve the problems that occur in children, but it also brings other problems with it.

If the physiological and emotional needs of children have not been met in a balanced way by their parents in the previous years, they face personality development problems in adolescence. These problems can be behaviors such as not being able to find and adopt their values, not being able to become independent from their parents, not being able to establish close relationships with others, not helping others with their problems, and not trying to understand their feelings, not defending their thoughts, not adopting the adult role in the future, in short, not being able to fully find their own identity (Ekşi, 1990). If the children who cannot receive the necessary support from the family also experience negative experiences of institutional care, these problems can be much more. In this case, the young individual may experience some psychological problems such as loneliness, passivity in social relations, decrease in self-esteem, depression, and anxiety by developing a self-deprecating and accusatory, introverted, and dependent personality (Ekşi, 1990).

Developing a positive self-concept and self-esteem is a sought-after feature in individuals with a healthy personality. Self-concept includes the individual's perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs about himself. The formation of this concept continues throughout life and develops further with the individual's self-knowledge. This occurs when the individual is aware of his/her feelings and thought processes. The basis of this process is the self-concept, which describes the integrity of all the emotions, attitudes, and behaviors that make the individual an individual and distinguish them from others. In other words, the concept of self describes how people see and value themselves as a way of perceiving and comprehending.

The aim of the study

Significant changes may occur in the family structure as a result of various reasons such as poverty, immigration, divorce, death of one of the parents, mental problems of the parents, and imprisonment of one of the parents, which can lead to the deterioration of family integrity. In addition to the deterioration of family integrity, the child may require "protection and care" for other reasons. Until the individual reaches a certain physical, psychological and social maturity, he or she needs to be cared for, supported, directed, approved, and helped to improve his approved behaviors. These services, which are normally provided in the family environment, are undertaken by various institutions if the child needs protection and care.

Children, who are taken under protection due to the adverse conditions arising from their families and close circles, experience various problems due to the insufficient physical structure of the environments where institutional care is given, the lack of qualified personnel, and living in very crowded environments. The approach that has been emphasized in child protection services in recent years is the approach of protecting family unity. This approach allows the child to continue his life with his family instead of being placed in an institution other than his own home.

Children's Homes Site, Children's Homes, and Child Support Center provide services to young people in need of protection and care in Turkey. In addition, the number of young people supported by their families is increasing. In the period when the Republic was newly established, Turkey struggled with child deprivation under the name of the Child Protection Agency and broke new grounds. Continuing its activities as a non-governmental organization in this period, the organization carried out many successful works and opened kindergartens in many provinces and districts. This organization was closed in 1981 and the Social Services and Child Protection Agency (SHÇEK) was established in 1983, and the State continued to provide services to children in need of protection. In countries that are economically, socially, and culturally developed, children in need of protection are provided with family-based care services, and institutional care is applied for children who cannot be cared for in emergencies and with families. In Turkey, on the other hand, it is seen that there has been a tendency towards community-based care in recent years, from institutional care to children in need of protection and care. In the children's homes service model, it is aimed that a group of children stay in apartments in the community accompanied by a caregiver. As an alternative to institutional care, family-based care and foster family services are also increasing. It is known that the institutional care model is insufficient to ensure the physical, emotional, and mental development and healthy socialization of children. However, in community-based care, children can continue their development and socialization in the community in a healthier way. In Turkey, this model also has aspects that need to be developed, such as preventing the stigma of children, supporting and monitoring children and youth with qualified and trained care personnel.

Institutional care is the collective care of children / young people who do not have a blood relationship by various professional professionals under an organization aimed at ensuring their physical, mental, and social health (Koşar, 1992, Tomanbay, 1999). The social service specialist, who is tasked with collecting the necessary information about the child in need of protection and care, and his family, determines whether the child needs protection and the conditions of the family and child. By the Social Services Law, children whose protection decision is taken by juvenile courts are placed in social service institutions appropriate for their age.

In the socialization of children, family, school, play, group of friends, peers, mass media, art products, etc. While these factors play an active role, the orphanage, and kindergarten complete the role of the family on one side and the function of the school on the other. The measure of the proper fulfillment of the mentioned function is the degree to which the dormitory or home resembles the family environment. In these institutions, to the extent that a "family atmosphere" can be achieved, it is possible to actively reintegrate individuals who do not have social integration problems or who "overcome very lightly" from this problem. It is a fact that a “foreign” environment/society awaits children after they leave the institution. Since the mentioned natural environment does not live in it, it is possible that the people mentioned will respond to the values and norms of this place with an "out of the ordinary" and therefore they are in a state of relative disharmony. During their stay in the institution, these children need to be prepared for life and gain some basic skills, both by professional staff and through school and other social resources (associations, volunteers, other social institutions). Some of these are self-esteem and self-esteem. There is invariance in the judgments that determine self-esteem and relative continuity. However, clinical facts have also revealed that the constancy of self-esteem is not in a straight line that continues throughout life (Tufan, 1989). It has been stated that since self-esteem is dynamic and situational, it can change from field to field and that a person can develop and maintain his self-esteem level (Reçber, 2002). This study is focused on the self-esteem and self-esteem of young people who need protection and care, in line with the fact that they need to grow up as individuals who trust their abilities and love themselves.

1. Concept of Self

In humans, there is a concept of self that organizes and integrates experiences and determines their reactions (Kuzgun, 2002). The most important dimension of personality is the self. Köknel (1995) defined the self as “the whole of the physical, mental and psychological characteristics that distinguish a person from others”. For an individual to be psychologically healthy, these characteristics must be in harmony. Researchers dealing with the subject of personality draw attention to the fact that the "self", which is the subjective aspect of personality, has a very important role in the adaptation of the individual (Güngör, 1989).

The self is called self-knowledge, in a way “who am I?” is an answer to the question. Self-knowledge is achieved through knowing the strengths/weaknesses and open to development aspects and recognizing their emotions (Üstün, Akgün & Partlak, 2005).

According to Kuzgun (2002), the concept of self (self) is different from self (essence). Self-concept can be considered as an organized cognitive structure derived from an individual's experiences. In this way, ideas about how we evaluate ourselves as a being emerge from our awareness of ourselves. Therefore, the self-concept is the cognitive side of the self (Altunay, 2004).

Self-concept is how a person sees himself. This develops as the individual combines with his judgments about various qualities and forms meaningful wholes. The self-concept gains a structure resistant to change over time and becomes the most important determinant of behavior. People tend to avoid behaviors that are contrary to their evaluations about themselves and that do not comply with the self-concept and behave in a way that suits them. A person's decisions about himself are a reflection of his self-concept (Kuzgun, 1999). Self-concept can be defined as the sum of the individual's mental and physical characteristics and the individual's self-evaluation of all these characteristics (Pişkin, 1999). According to Rogers, the theorist who has given an important place to the concept of self, self-concept includes how the individual perceives himself and his relations with other people (Altunay, 2004). Self-concept is the individual's forgiving certain characteristics to himself. More precisely, the self-concept includes the characteristics that a person forgives himself and the values attached to them. A person can describe himself with thousands of adjectives such as beautiful or ugly, thin or fat, tall or short. The adjectives used in these descriptions are generalizations obtained from several experiences. Self-concept is the expression of one's own unique and very rich life in functional, communicative terms with symbols. In short, the self-concept is the individual's self-put into generalized terms (Kuzgun, 2002).

At the same time, the self is a definition system formed by the judgments that a person makes about his/her characteristics by looking at himself/herself as an object and represents the cognitive aspect of the “self-concept”. Self-respect constitutes the attitude towards these judgments and therefore the affective side of the self-concept (Kuzgun, 2002). The self-structure can be divided into three parts. These parts (Altunay, 2004) are substance-related self, social self, and spiritual self. The substance-related self includes one's body, possessions, family, and home. The social self encompasses a person's social identity, relationships, roles, and qualities. The spiritual self, on the other hand, is an internal or subjective formation. This self determines how we evaluate and perceive ourselves.

Cooley tried to explain the formation of the self-concept while interacting with other people with the concept of "mirror self". "Mirror self" is a concept that reflects how other people with whom a person interacts perceive and evaluate himself. The concept of "mirror self" consists of three basic elements (Öz, 2004; Altunay, 2004). The first is the person's design of how they are perceived by others. This can also be called the socially significant aspect of the self. The second is the reaction created by the judgment of others about a person's behavior. This is the value that the individual receives in society. The third is the developed feelings of the self. These emotions are feelings such as pride and shame.

It is emphasized that the self is formed as a result of the effects of people who are considered important, on the individual. It speaks of three separate selves. These are (Altunay, 2004) known self, social self, and ideal self. The known self is an individual's perceptions of their abilities, status, and role. The social self is the individual's beliefs about himself/herself about what others see and evaluate. The ideal self is the person an individual wants to be or hopes to be.

All the features that make up the self in humans have some benefits for humans. Köknel (1999) listed the tasks of the self as follows:

- Preventing, controlling, and regulating the motives arising from instincts and impulses.
- Connecting with objects and people in the environment,
- Recognizing the truth, testing it, approving it,
- Adapting to reality,
- Limiting, sequencing, timing the stimuli coming from the environment,
- Perceiving, storing, remembering, thinking, comparing, combining and integrating,
- Gathering the forces that can overcome the obstacles faced by the person,
- Determining future expectations and goals,
- Using defense patterns that relieve the personality of anxiety

Self-concept has three dimensions: cognitive, affective, and behavioral. The concept in question also develops in three dimensions such as self-image, ideal self, and self-esteem. Self-concept can be seen as an umbrella concept that includes these three concepts (Pişkin, 1999). Self-concept, in a sense, is the individual's awareness of his self, in other words, his own identity. Here, self-image includes what the individual is, the ideal self includes the self that the individual wishes to be, and self-esteem includes the individual's feelings about the difference between what the individual is and what he or she wants to be. Self-image is the individual's awareness of his mental and physical characteristics. When the individual asks himself the question who am I a few times, the first answer to the question "who am I" will most likely reveal general characteristics that are not related to the private aspect of the person, but that the individual can share with others. This is usually the name or gender. The self-image of the individual emerges as the self-definition of the individual in this way. As the questions progress, the answers become personal. These questions may be: What am I? This question can be answered as “I am clumsy, stupid, ugly, or smart, beautiful, resourceful”. The answer to these questions can be positive or negative. The important thing is for the person to evaluate himself realistically as he is, not as he wants to be while seeking an answer to this question. What can I do? What kind of competencies do I have? Our beliefs about what talents we have in ourselves, such as “I speak well, paint well, work hard”, form a part of the self. This aspect of the self is evaluated positively or negatively by the individual himself. Self-image begins to form in the family with verbal or nonverbal attitudes of parents towards their children. Whether the child looks smart at home or not, whether he is loved or not, always influences his or her to form an image of him/herself. As the child becomes more aware of the features he has over time, the formation of a new self-image accelerates. Self-image is affected by feedback from others. The individual receives this feedbacks and interprets them according to his mental capacity and the richness and breadth of his experiences. A person's self-concept more often reflects the opinions of others about him. Observes others and evaluates others' judgments about him. He places himself in a place relative to others. The ideal self is the person an individual wants to be or hopes to be. It contains answers to the following questions: What is valuable to me? What should I do and what should I not do? For example, there is a value system that consists of more or less positive or negative judgments that the individual acquires from the society he lives in, such as "I have to help others, I have to earn money". “What is my purpose, what do I want in life?” Being a doctor, engineer, teacher. The answers to these four questions will reveal the ideal self and self-image. For example, the individual who says I am a self-confident person reflects their self-image, and the individual who says I want to be a good teacher reflects.

2. The Concept of Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is the individual's assessment of the difference between ideal self and self-image. The difference between how he perceives himself and the self he wants to give us the self-esteem level of that individual (Pişkin, 1999). Self-esteem is the state of appreciation that arises from the approval of the self-concept that a person reaches as a result of self-evaluation (Doğru & Peker, 2004). The positive or negative evaluation of the self-perceived by the individual or the judgment of the individual about the self constitutes that person's self-esteem (Sezer, 2001). Self-concept constitutes the cognitive part of the self, while self-esteem constitutes the affective part (Özdağ, 1999).

The concept of self-esteem, which is valid in the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory, is defined as “an individual's evaluation of some of his/her own approved or disapproved characteristics” (Tufan 1989). According to Coopersmith, self-esteem; is the degree to which an individual perceives himself as talented, important, successful, and valuable (Özdağ, 1999). According to Çuhadaroğlu (1986), self-esteem includes not only respecting oneself but also trusting, embracing, and valuing oneself. According to Rosenberg, self-esteem is a positive or negative attitude towards a particular object, namely the self. An individual's positive perception of himself sufficiently well constitutes high self-esteem and a negative perception of himself creates low self-esteem (Erim, 2001). Self-respect is not unconditional and cannot be given to an individual by another person. Self-esteem can only be gained by the individual through persistent individual effort, mastery, and meaningful achievements (Kaya & Saçkes, 2004).

The relationships between self-esteem and other variables have been extensively studied. It is associated with low self-esteem, low life satisfaction, loneliness, depression, anxiety, irritability, and irritability (Balcı, 1999). Clinical research results show that individuals who have no difference between their ideal self and self-image are generally lethargic, sluggish, aimless, and have low levels of adjustment. This arises from not making an effort to close the gap between the existing self and the ideal self. However, just as a person's biological structure is active, his psychological world must also be active, and this is very important for a person's mental health. Adequate or insufficient self-esteem greatly affects our mental comfort, happiness, work capacity, fears, and quality of life. It means a person's lack of adequate or insufficient self-esteem, emotional confidence, few demoralizing failed experiences, occasional self-pity, feelings of doubt and hostility, and less ambition to dominate others. Someone with low self-esteem is also ostracized by others and is noticeably timid. A person with high self-esteem resorts to fewer lies, speaks easily during discussions, is original, active, ready to share, and is not passive against living conditions (Terzioğlu, 2000).

A person with low self-esteem will often be prone to role-playing and wearing a mask in front of other people. The increase or decrease in self-esteem is related to the inhibiting or encouraging behaviors of the environment. High self-esteem cannot be expected from a person who is constantly criticized and vilified. The following judgments can be observed in people with insufficient self-esteem (Terzioğlu, 2000):

- I often feel useless.
- I am ashamed of myself.
- I can't see any reason why someone should love me.
- I am often afraid of misbehaving.
- I feel comfortable when I am approved by others.
- Life is obstructive and threatening for an individual with insufficient self-esteem and self-concept. The individual feels insecure, distressed, sad, and humiliated. External sources of pride such as money, property, and career cannot help an individual with this type of feature. It is generally not possible for one to compensate for the other. The following judgments can be observed in people with high self-esteem (Terzioğlu, 2000):
- I think I have a lot of good qualities.
- I feel free and proud to be myself.
- I am confident in my relationships with others.
- When I do something, it must be perfect.
- It is not so important that others approve of my views.

At the end of his eight-year study on self-esteem, Coopersmith expressed the personality traits of individuals with high self-esteem and individuals with low self-esteem (Sezer, 2001). Individuals with high self-esteem are self-confident, optimistic, have a high desire to be successful, do not show intimidation in the face of difficulties, believe that they are an important and useful person for others, are relaxed, flexible, open to new ideas, sociable, creative and inquisitive.

Individuals with low self-esteem; have feelings of inferiority, are constantly worried about failure, are shy, do not love themselves, do not trust themselves or others, have fear of rejection, avoid close relationships, are timid, stubborn, passive, introverted, dependent, prejudiced and more prone to psychosomatic diseases.

It is stated that the number of life events experienced by adolescents affects self-esteem. It can be said that as the number of negative stressful events experienced by adolescents increases, self-esteem decreases (Erim, 2001). For the individual to develop a self-concept compatible with his reality and to grow up as an individual with a high level of self-esteem, it is necessary to change his negative mindset, realize his abilities, and encourage independent behavior. In addition, it is recommended that the importance of acquiring experiences that increase the sense of success, improving the social aspect, encouraging the behavior of expressing emotions and thoughts, not being evaluated with its external appearance, accepting itself as it is with its positive and negative aspects, and accepting it as it is by the people around it (Pişkin, 1999; Sezer, 2001). Factors contributing to the development of self-esteem are as follows (Sahin, 1994):

- Perhaps the most important factor is the amount of safe, accepting, and respectful behavior that an individual receives from others who have an important place in his life. Because individuals value themselves according to the importance given to them and this is one of the most important parts of self-image.
- An individual's achievements, his position in social life, and his status are also important in terms of self-esteem. Achievements enable the individual to be noticed by society and gain status. These elements play a role in increasing self-esteem. However, the important thing here is that the individual achieves his/her own goals.
- In James's terms, self-esteem is the ratio of what we achieve to what we want to achieve.
- The way an individual responds to evaluations and humiliations by others is also important. The individual, from time to time, meets the evaluations made about him with various defense mechanisms to protect and maintain self-integrity. In this way, he maintains his/her self-respect. Taking protective measures by using these defense mechanisms is also important for self-esteem.
- Physical disability has a lowering effect on self-esteem.

Although research has been done and is currently being conducted to improve the level of self-esteem in the country and abroad, it is also argued that it is difficult to change self-esteem once it is established (Sezer, 2001).

3. Characteristics of Young People in Need of Protection and Care in Turkey

It can be ensured that young people in need of protection and care are accepted to the protection of the State, and stay away from staying on the street, social dangers, and ill-treatment on the street. The problem is not only finding a place to stay, meeting their nutritional and dressing needs. It can be said that the physical needs of young people can be adequately met under protection; however, it is not possible to say that their psychological needs are adequately met in terms of personality development. The common profile of young people in need of protection and care can be expressed as follows (Bulut and Özdemir, 1998):

- They feel unlucky, lonely, and unloved.
- They have trouble trusting and attaching to people and close friends.
- They have difficulty expressing their love and feelings.
- They fail to react to the emotions of others.
- They think that they are deprived of food, clothing, attention, and love.
- They engage in verbal and nonverbal disrespectful behaviors in their relations with each other.

Before children and young people are put under protection, they experience many painful experiences, and their physiological and psychological health is negatively affected. Some of the children in need of protection are completely abandoned by their parents, some of them have intense psycho-social and economic problems such as poverty, unemployment, alcoholism, family conflicts, broken family, loss of parents in their family environment and some of them have intense emotional and physical problems. It is seen that they have faced sexual abuse (Sandalcı, 2000; 2004).

According to the literature, children and young people who are protected and cared for away from the family environment have problems in their development, have high levels of anxiety and depression, experience personal adjustment problems, exhibit behavioral disorders, lack parental contact, have poor family relations and socialization, and have less access to social activities. low or moderate self-esteem about past experiences, feelings of rejection, neglect, and abuse, have lower assertiveness levels, show more aggressive behaviors, have a personality that harms themselves and property, feel unlucky and lonely, have high neurotic tendencies, It has been determined that the self-confidence is not developed, they are pessimistic, their hopelessness level is high, and they experience a sense of guilt. Young people in need of protection and care are less satisfied with themselves, they perceive themselves as worthless and unloved, they despise themselves, they are more submissive, they are under the influence of momentary environmental events, they are more inclined to have negative feelings towards others, and they are less tolerant of others, It has been seen that the chances of communicating their true feelings and realizing themselves are low and they tend to violate the rights of others (Balcı, 1999; Bedir, 1998; Cılga, 1999; Çakıcıoğlu & Aktaş, 1997; Çetin, 2004; Erim, 2001; Güçlüray, 1989; Gündoğdu & Zeren). , 2004; Gürvardar, 2001; Oktay, 1998; Sarper, 2001; Sold 1988; Şahin, 1994; Turan, 2003; Uğurlu, 1994; Üstün and Akman, 2002; Washington, 1989; Yıldırım, 1997; Yılgör, 1993; Kutlu, 2005).

In terms of the mental health of individuals, the environment of love and trust provided by the mother or the person who takes the place of the mother is extremely important. It has been determined that children who stay in institutional care for a long time are affected negatively in terms of emotional, social, mental, and language development due to mother deprivation (Şahin, 1994). The most common symptoms in children who are under protection and care for a long time are dull gaze, disinterest in the environment, thumb sucking, swinging in place, and introversion. In addition, all of these symptoms, which are seen in children and based on maternal deprivation, are called hospitalism (Yörükoğlu, 1983). Children and young people raised under protection and care cannot establish deep social relationships due to lack of emotional stimulation, they behave suspiciously and insensitively towards those who show interest, and they show an unhappy, apathetic, introverted, and depressive mood towards others. Since they lack the behavioral models that love them and a model that they can trust, they cannot learn to show love towards other people and cannot connect to people with a bond of love. Aggressive behaviors and delinquency are among the most frequently observed behaviors in children who have been taken care of since infancy. Studies have shown that children in need of protection have a high rate of mental imbalances, behavioral disorders, and delinquency. It was found that there were some delays in all areas of their development. It was found that they were lacking in their peers in terms of motor development and they started walking in the second year of their lives (Temel, 1991). In terms of social-emotional development, it has been determined that children and young people staying in institutional care acquire the behaviors of verbally reacting to adults, distinguishing familiar and unfamiliar people, imitating facial expressions, developing commitment to a certain person, playing social games with adults, and establishing initiative in social relations later than their peers. It was found that the symptoms of fear of strangers in these children did not occur at the appropriate ages. At the same time, it has been determined that when they have difficulties or need to solve a problem, they do not seek adults and fail to develop trust towards adults (Öntaş, 1998).

4. Self and Self-Esteem in Young People in Need of Protection and Care in Turkey

Children and young people in need of protection and care have a lower level of emotional, psycho-social development compared to children and young people who grow up in a family environment, and they have certain problems in developing a healthy self and personality. These young people must open up to the social environment and socialize, to form their personalities and to grow up (Reçber, 2002). Young people, in need of protection, whose socialization and personality development are inefficient, fall into feelings of humiliation and can close to the outside world and even show a sense of shame. When they enter an environment with their normal peers, who psychologically constantly deprivation of family and love, their self-esteem decreases and causes them not to be entrepreneurial and assertive. A negative aspect of shared care is the need for children and young people to adapt to the child and other staff. In addition, caregivers develop behaviors towards children by their knowledge and view of life, and children and young people often get different responses to the same reactions.

Studies have shown that young people who need protection and care have low self-esteem and, accordingly, their capacity to cope with their problems may decrease and their psychological problems may increase. Young people with such important developmental problems can often be alone and unemployed after leaving the institution. This can create a separate problem for young people whose capacity to cope with the problems they will encounter in life has decreased due to the developmental problems they experience (Erim, 2001; Gündoğdu & Zeren, 2004; Gürvardar, 2001; Kutlu, 1992; Pektaş, 2002; Şahin, 1994; Uğurlu, 1994; Turan, 2003; Yıldırım, 1997; Yılgör, 1993).

Orphanages, formerly known as orphanages, are boarding institutions responsible for protecting and caring for young people between the ages of 13 and 18 in need of protection, enabling them to pursue a job or a profession, and raising them as useful individuals for society. Considering the characteristics of both childhood and youth, it can be said that this type of care does not have a very positive feature in terms of the psycho-social development of the youth. While young people are trying to be independent, on the other hand, they need the support of adults. Although organizations with these structures are accepted as a family environment, they are insufficient in supporting and guiding young people in terms of their psycho-social development. If the young person has spent his infancy and childhood years in the kindergarten, which is the first step of institutional care, he moves to the orphanage without receiving the basic trust, respect, and love exchange that he needs from the one-to-one relationship he needs at that time (Bulut & Özdemir, 1998). As of 2017, orphanages have been transformed into homes where 5-6 young people stay together and receive special care.

Young people in need of protection, who are far from their mothers and fathers, both lack the love and care necessary for the development of the sense of being valuable, and they completely lose the chance to meet their care and love needs by their mothers and fathers while they are away from them. They lose not only the sense of value gained due to love but also love it (Kutlu, 1992).

In the formal structure of organizations, a positive relationship based on love, interest, and understanding and that develops the child often fails to develop between the personnel who replace the parents and the large number of children they deal with. In addition, young people who are in the organization or at home all day can behave differently to different people due to their differences, and the role models that they constantly face cannot be formed. Frequent changes in institution staff can be traumatic in children's emotional life. The negative situations are that children are not in a receptive position in the institutional environment, they are not responsible, and there are no structures that will allow them to reveal their individuality in the environment they live in and develop a sense of self. Likewise, the lack of individuals who can represent the parent figure, share their feelings and thoughts, and develop logical and consistent behaviors against their positive and negative behaviors reduces their self-esteem (Şahin, 1994).


The definition and scope of children in need of protection may differ from society to society and over time. However, there may be conditions that prevent the child from becoming a socially, physically, spiritually, and morally healthy adult due to the inadequacies and setbacks in the basic care, upbringing, and protection of the child according to the social standards he/she lives in (Koşar, 1992). In this case, it assumes the responsibility of the child by making a protection decision about the child through legal regulations and a court decision. The State fulfills this duty through social service organizations. The task of caring for, raising, and reintegrating children and young people in need of protection and care is carried out by the General Directorate of Child Services of the Ministry of Family and Social Services in Turkey.

According to the data of the Ministry of Family and Social Services in Turkey for 2019, the protection and care of 1369 children and youth in a total of 1369 institutions or homes, including 6,132 children in 112 Children's Homes, 6,164 children in 1192 Children's Homes, and 1571 children in 65 Child Support Centers below. As of 2017, kindergartens and orphanages have been transformed into Children's Houses Site and Children's Houses. This is an indication of the transition to community-based care in terms of institutions. Similarly, while the number of children and young people who were supported by the family without protection was 104,729 in 2017, this number increased to 125,258 in 2019 (

Considering the negative effects of institutional care on the self-development and self-esteem of young people, which are often emphasized in the study, these problems and difficulties will be overcome in community-based care. However, in community-based care, social problems such as labeling and stigmatization of children's homes in the community are seriously addressed and awareness-raising studies are needed. At the same time, staff working with young people in children's homes in community-based care should also be qualified in terms of self, personality, and development. If this happens, the self-development and self-esteem of young people will reach a positive level.

It is aimed to create a personality structure that can participate productively in the society by the aims of the law in the institutional environment, respect and self-confidence, and can survive without help in the future. Some features of institutional care and the functioning of the service may not be sufficient to achieve these goals.

Young people in need of protection and care are faced with many negative events and situations. In addition to the problems experienced by young people, it is emphasized in studies that they experience feelings of rejection and abandonment more intensely due to the effects of neglect and abuse throughout their lives, and accordingly, their self-esteem decreases (Cılga, 1999). These young people experience social problems as well as psychological problems specific to them. Yılgör (1993), in his research in Istanbul, determined that young people living in orphanages could not have a comfortable relationship with others, felt insecure in society, and experienced problems specific to their developmental stages more intensely.

Being in institutional care causes the majority of children in need of protection to feel different and isolated from other people, and their friends, teachers, and citizens outside the organization who are prejudiced and have good intentions but cannot communicate with these children properly.

Children and youth under institutional care also have educational problems. School follow-ups of those who continue their education cannot be done exactly. Balcı (1999) states that young people living in orphanages have lower school success than those staying with their families. Benli (1998) found that the opinions of the participants living in the orphanage and the teachers did not agree with each other on many issues. This situation shows that students tend to present themselves as different as they are. In conclusion, this study reveals the depression, hopelessness, low self-esteem, and loneliness experienced by young people.

In line with the results of the study, some suggestions can be made that can contribute to the self-development and self-esteem of young people:

- It should be ensured that the group of young people in need of protection and care receive effective support in these matters with democratic, knowledgeable, and skillful professionals who can recognize themselves, solve their problems, adapt well to society, and make them feel confident and not alone.
- Psychologists, social workers, and psychological counselors should play an active role as they may need psychological counseling, psychological help, and guidance services to develop a healthy identity and increase their self-esteem.
- Enterprise environments function in isolation. The buildings and interior arrangements of those places should be arranged to meet all the needs of the youth and services should be provided in the community.
- The houses where young people stay should be in a way that they can easily relate interact and socialize with the environment and central areas should be preferred.
- If the reason for the protection of young people in need of protection and care is poverty, such children should be provided with financial support to stay with their families in the place where they will be admitted to the institution. However, if there are traumatic life events such as neglect, abuse, and violence in the family, it is important and necessary to be protected and taken care of.


No funds were used in the conduct of this study.


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Author Biography

İrfan Doğan works as a Research Assistant at the Social Work Department of Gümüşhane University in Turkey. He conducts studies on issues such as ecological social work, city, nature, and disability.


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Self and Self-Esteem in Young People in Need of Protection and Care in Turkey
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self-concept, self-esteem, Young people in need of protection and care
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Irfan Dogan (Author), 2021, Self and Self-Esteem in Young People in Need of Protection and Care in Turkey, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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