Mental health needs of children in out-of-home-care

Mental health needs of children in out-of-home-care

L Lok and D Tzioumi

Background: The prevalence of Mental Health Problems (MHP) detected in pre-school children in Out-of-Home-Care (OOHC) is 60.5% (Reams, R. (1999). Infant Mental Health Journal, 20, 166-174). However, literature specifically addressing the Mental Health needs of preschool aged children in OOHC in Australia is limited. Aim: The objectives of this study were to identify the types and number of MHP experienced by preschool children aged 0-6 years who were in OOHC; and to evaluate the relationship between risk factors and the number of MHP. Methods: A retrospective review of OOHC clinic reports for clinics held between July 2011 and June 2012. Children who were 6 years of age and under were included in this study. Associations between MHP and the risk factors examined were: age at entry into care, number and types of placements; and the number of parental risk factors, including parental Mental Health issues, drugs and alcohol use and domestic violence. Results: The OOHC clinic reports for 92 children were reviewed. The most common MHP were in the Attachment and Behavioural categories. Age at entry into care and the number of placements were significantly associated with the number of MHP. There was an 18% increased rate of MHP for each additional year of age at entry into care. There was a 15% increased rate of MHP for each additional placement. There were no statistically significant associations between the gender of the child, age at assessment, placement type, the number of restorations to parental care and the number of parental risk factors with the number of MHP. Conclusion: This study confirms that young children in OOHC have high rates of MHP. Age at entry into care and the number of placements are the most significant contributing factors for the number of MHP.

Citation:

Lok, L., & Tzioumi, D. (2015). Mental health needs of children in out-of-home-care. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 51(S2), 7-8. Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jpc.1291324/full

Publication/Completion Year:
2015

Research Focus

Topic(s):
  • Out of home care (including leaving care)
Child Abuse Type(s):
  • Type not specified

Source

Information obtained from:
Literature Review
Added to Register: 30 June 2016
Last updated: 30 June 2016

Publication meta

Project Type:
Research only
Participants/Data Sample:
  • Children / Young people
Sample Size:
Medium (20-99 participants)
Methodology:
Quantitative

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