Why good placements matter: Pre-placement and placement risk factors associated with mental health disorders in pre-school children in foster care

Hillen, Thomas and Gafson, Leonie (2015) Why good placements matter: Pre-placement and placement risk factors associated with mental health disorders in pre-school children in foster care. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 20 (3). pp. 486-499. ISSN 1359-1045

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Abstract/Book Review

Pre-school children placed in local authority care show elevated rates of mental health disorders when compared to the general population. This study investigated risk factors for mental health disorders relating to the period prior to entering care and while in care. A representative sample of 43 children in care aged 0–72 months in an inner London borough underwent comprehensive multidimensional assessments. Presence of emotional, behavioural, attachment and adaptive disorders was ascertained. Exposure to two pre-placement risk factors and six placement risk factors was compared between children with and without a disorder. A total of 26 children (60.5%) had at least one mental health disorder. The two pre-placement risk factors, multiple types of maltreatment and entry into care after the age of 6 months, were both significantly associated with mental health disorders. The three placement risk factors of sudden placement moves, multiple placement moves and child–carer alienation showed a significant association with mental health disorders. There was a strong correlation between the number of risk factors and the number of co-morbid mental health disorders per child (r = .67, p < .001). In conclusion, this study identified five modifiable risk factors related to the quality of safeguarding and fostering services which showed a significant association with pre-school mental health.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Published online ahead of print: 14 April 2014.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Adversity, Pre-School Children, Fostering Behavioural Disorder, Emotional Disorder, Risk Factors
Subjects: Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Child Psychotherapy
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services
Depositing User: Ms Jocelyn Wade
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2014 12:01
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2016 10:28
URI: http://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/816

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