alexa Psychiatric disorder among British children looked after by local authorities: comparison with children living in private households.


Journal of Psychology & Psychotherapy

Author(s): Ford T, Vostanis P, Meltzer H, Goodman R

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Abstract BACKGROUND: Children looked after by local authorities are at higher risk of poor psychosocial outcomes than children living in private households, but nationally representative and random samples of the two groups of children have not previously been compared. AIMS: To find explanations for the increased prevalence of psychiatric disorder in children looked after by local authorities. METHOD: We examined socio-demographic characteristics and psychopathology by type of placement among children looked after in Britain by local authorities (n=1453), and compared these children with deprived and non-deprived children living in private households (n=10 428). RESULTS: Children looked after by local authorities had higher levels of psychopathology, educational difficulties and neurodevelopmental disorders, and 'looked after' status was independently associated with nearly all types of psychiatric disorder after adjusting for these educational and physical factors. The prevalence of psychiatric disorder was particularly high among those living in residential care and with many recent changes of placement. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate a need for greater support of this vulnerable group of children. This article was published in Br J Psychiatry and referenced in Journal of Psychology & Psychotherapy

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