Interventions to Improve Foster Children’s Mental and Physical Health: A Systematic Review and Assessment of the Economic, Social and Ethical Aspects.
SBU Assessments ; #265e
Swedish Health Agency for Health Technology Assessment and Assessment of Social Services (SBU).
Published: September 2017
This brief discusses findings from a systematic review of 23 studies that included 18 supportive interventions for children in foster care and their foster parents. The review included controlled trials with high or medium quality, published between 1990 and 2017 that included at least 40 participants. Follow-up time was at minimum three months or more for children two years or older, and one month or more for children younger than two years. The systematic review also included economic aspects, an inventory of the interventions used in Sweden, and expressed experiences of foster care by representatives of non-profit organizations for individuals with a history of foster care. Findings indicate there is evidence that three specific interventions are effective: Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up targeting foster parents can improve children's attachment behaviors; Incredible Years can improve parenting abilities of foster parents, as well as decrease children's externalizing behaviors; and Take Charge for young people can improve children's self-determination skills, high school completion, and increase their likelihood of future employment. For the other 15 interventions that were identified in the systematic review, there was not sufficient studies to assess their effect. Research needs in Sweden are identified.
Sweden; foster children; therapeutic intervention; therapeutic effectiveness; mental health services; mental disorders; attachment therapy; parenting skills; foster parents; parent education; foster adolescents; ethics