Given the turmoil leading to (and caused by) placement in foster care, it comes at no surprise foster care has a large impact on children. How deep is that impact? Can it affect a child's health? New research suggests it does.
Recently published in Pediatrics, this study compared the health of children in foster care to those who had never been in foster care. The findings show children in foster care are:
- More likely to be in fair or poor health (4.2% vs 3.1%)
- Have activity limitations (9.8% vs 4.8%)
- Twice as likely to have learning disabilities (14.7% vs 7.6%), developmental delays (7.3% vs 3.4%), asthma (18.0% vs 8.7%), obesity (24.1% vs 15.7%), and speech problems (11.2% vs 4.7%).
- Three times as likely to have ADD/ADHD (21.8% vs 7.4%), hearing problems (3.9% vs 1.2%), and vision problems (3.4% vs 1.3%)
- Five times as likely to have anxiety (14.2% vs 3.1%)
- Six times as likely to have behavioral problems (17.5% vs 2.9%)
- Seven times as likely to have depression (14.2% vs 2.0%)
This study only lends more support for trauma informed care, especially when caring for pediatric patients involved with the child welfare system. While providing trauma informed care to children involved in child welfare system is no different than with children not involved, there are special circumstances healthcare professionals should understand. These circumstances, such as removal from their biological parents, abuse, neglect, or multiple foster care placements, can affect how children cope, especially in stressful situations common during medical treatment.
Interested in learning more? You can read more about how to provide trauma informed care to children involved in the child welfare system or take a free continuing education course to see how to incorporate this information at the bedside. Continue the conversation with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest!