FRIDAY, July 1 (HealthDay News) -- Behavioral and emotional problems are common in children who live in long-term foster care, according to new research from the University of New Hampshire.
"Better identifying and assisting children with, or at risk of developing such problems upon entry to foster care and throughout their out-of-home placement, may alleviate their needs and troubles and provide mechanisms for supporting them as they get older," Wendy Walsh, research associate at the Carsey Institute at the UNH and a colleague wrote in the report.
The authors looked at a nationally representative sample of children placed in out-of-home care between July 1998 and February 1999. After four years, 43 percent of the children were still in out-of-home care, including 22 percent in foster care, 13 percent who were living with other relatives, and 8 percent who were in a residential program, group home or other living arrangement.
About 27 percent of children aged 11 to 18 in out-of-home care had clinical levels of emotional problems and 41 percent had clinical levels of behavioral problems, the researchers found.
In the four-year follow-up, 32 percent of kids diagnosed with emotional problems and 35 percent of those diagnosed with behavioral problems were in foster care. Only 19 percent of children without these problems were still in foster care, according to a university news release.
The researchers also found that children with emotional and behavioral problems are less likely to rejoin their families. While 31 percent of children with no emotional problems rejoined their families, the figure was only 19 percent for those with emotional problems. One-third of children with no behavioral problems rejoined their families, compared with 18 percent of those with behavioral problems.
In addition, younger children (aged 3 to 5) were much more likely to be adopted than older children (aged 15 to 18). Only
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