Foster Care Makes an Impact on Child and Adolescent Suicides Attempts

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It has been known thus far that the rate of suicides is higher in children and adolescents who are in child welfare systems when compared to children who live with their parents. According to the latest study conducted on the subject, it has been revealed that the rate of suicides are at a peak before children enter foster care. Thereafter, the risk begins to decrease. The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association journal. For the study, around 76,000 adolescents and children were considered. Among these, 8279 children belonged to the age group of 5 to 17. The place considered was Manitoba. The study focused around foster care Canadian child welfare system. The study was carried by a research team from the University of Manitoba in Canada. The study period was between 1 April 1997 and 31 March 2006. These children were compared with another group of 353050 children brought up by their parents.

Different conditions such as suicide attempts, deaths and hospitalization were considered for the study. It was found that there was a 3.54 hike in rate of death by attempting suicide in children who were in care when compared to those who were not. Furthermore, suicides attempt rate was 2.11 higher than in foster care children than those who were not in these care homes. Hospitalization rate was found to be 1.96. The common influencing factors such as duration in the foster home and mental health of parents were not conclusively the only reason for suicide. It was moreover found that these rate figures reduced after entering foster homes.

The lead author of the study, Dr, Laurence Katz of the department of Psychiatry from the University of Manitoba said that the rates of suicide in children in foster care homes is higher than those who are not in care but it has also been found that when compared to two years before admission into foster home, the rate decreased two years after foster care stay.

Among the study group, there were a number of children and adolescents who suffered psychiatric conditions. It was found that although these psychiatric conditions are reasons for suicide attempts, the condition was reduced after entry into foster home. The rate of suicide registered a highest decrease in these children. Children and adolescents in this age group are particularly vulnerable to mental and psychological problems and can easily give in to the extreme step. The results of this study match other two studies that have been conducted on the same subject.