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Med J Aust. 2007 Feb 19;186(4):181-4.

The mental health and wellbeing of children and adolescents in home-based foster care.

Author information

  • 1Women's and Children's Hospital, Children, Youth and Women's Health Service, Adelaide, SA. michael.sawyer@adelaide.edu.au

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To identify the prevalence of mental health problems, rates of suicidal ideation and behaviour, and use of professional mental health services among children and adolescents residing in home-based foster care, and to compare these rates with those reported for children and adolescents in the general Australian community.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional survey.

PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING:

326 children and adolescents (aged 6-17 years) residing in home-based foster care in the Adelaide metropolitan region between August 2004 and January 2006.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Prevalence of emotional and behavioural problems, suicidal ideation and behaviour, and use of professional services to obtain help for emotional and behavioural problems.

RESULTS:

61.0% of children and adolescents living in home-based foster care scored above the recommended cut-off for behaviour problems on the Child Behavior Checklist and 35.2% of adolescents scored above the cut-off on the Youth Self Report. 6.7% of 13-17- year olds in home-based foster care reported a suicide attempt that required medical treatment during the previous year. Caregivers reported that 53.4% of children needed professional help for their mental health problems but only 26.9% had obtained help during the previous 6 months.

CONCLUSION:

Children in home-based foster care experience high rates of mental health problems but only a minority receive professional help for their problems.

PMID:
17309418
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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