What happens to youth removed from parental care?: Health and economic outcomes for women with a history of out-of-home placement
ABSTRACT Although the link between out-of-home placement and mental health problems in youth has been well-documented, few studies have examined the long-term functioning of adults with a history of out-of-home placement. In the present study, data from the California Women's Health Survey were used to examine the odds of recent mental and physical health problems, low educational attainment, and economic adversity for women, ages 18 and older, with (n=368) or without (n=9240) a history of out-of-home placement. Results revealed that history of out-of-home placement was associated with mental health problems, poor subjective health, smoking, obesity, low educational attainment, living in poverty, and use of public assistance in adulthood. Routine screening for mental health problems, as well as early intervention and prevention efforts, should be targeted to youth in or transitioning to out-of-home placement in an effort to prevent long-term mental health problems. Educational interventions that facilitate collaboration between foster care agencies and the schools should be tested to learn whether they are associated with greater employment opportunities and better economic functioning in adulthood.