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Title of Paper: The physical, developmental, and mental health needs of young children in child welfare by initial placement type

Study Location: San Diego County, California, USA

Type of Paper: Original Article; Medical Chart Review

Purpose: To describe the physical, development, and mental health needs of foster care children entering the child welfare/child protective services system and to compare these needs by placement type (i.e., biological parents, nonrelative foster parents, kin foster parents).

Nutrition-Related Measures:

Participants: 1542 children between the ages of 3 months and 5 years and 11 months entering child welfare and receiving medical and developmental screening through a screening program in the U. S. (San Diego County, CA). The average age was 35 months.

Methods: Medical chart reviews

Nutrition Results:

Conclusions & Clinical Implications: 7% of children under the age of 6 years who were entering foster care were diagnosed with anemia.

Limitations of the Nutritional Results: The diagnostic criteria used for anemia was not described in this paper. The rate of anemia in this study was not very high, and more detailed information on iron status is needed to fully understand the risk of anemia and iron deficiency in children entering foster care. In the general population, children between the ages of 6 to 24 months are at a greater risk for iron deficiency compared to children of other ages. It is not clear from this paper whether or not entering foster care places children in this age range at an even greater risk. Furthermore, it was not reported whether the anemia was due to iron deficiency or another etiology.

Reference: Leslie LK, Gordon JN, Meneken L, Premji K, Michelmore KL, Ganger W. The physical, developmental, and mental health needs of young children in child welfare by initial placement type. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2005; 26: 177-185. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15956866


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