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The physical and mental health of children in foster care.

Ferrara P, et al. Iran J Public Health. 2013.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: To evaluate physical and mental health in children in foster care and comparison with general population.

METHODS: The study is carried out between September 2011 and April 2012 into nine group homes in Rome. It involved 112 children ranging in age 2-17 years, living in temporary care facilities or institutes. All data came out of clinical history and physical exams, validated by a pediatrician. Such data were being then compared with samples of general population.

RESULTS: Significant themes were high percentage of children with psychiatric disorders in foster care (22.3%); high percentage of psychiatric disorders diagnosed immediately while arriving at the foster care (56%); no significant differences in weight, height and BMI between children in foster care and general population; significant differences (P<0.05) for allergy, gastrointestinal diseases and caries between children in foster care and general population.

CONCLUSION: The results suggest that the physical health of children in group homes is no worse than that of children living care in their own homes and that the foster care provides necessary conditions to support the growth of the children and their physical, mental and social needs.

PMID

23785675 [PubMed]

PMCID

PMC3684722

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