Article

Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 199-221

Psychosocial Treatment of Children in Foster Care: A Review

  • Robert RacusinAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center
  • , Arthur C. MaerlenderAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center
  • , Anjana SenguptaAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center
  • , Peter K. IsquithAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center
  • , Martha B. StrausAffiliated withAntioch New England Graduate School

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Abstract

A substantial number of children in foster care exhibit psychiatric difficulties. Recent epidemiological and historical trends in foster care, clinical findings about the adjustment of children in foster care and adult outcomes are reviewed, followed by a description of current approaches to treatment and extant empirical support. Available interventions for these children can be categorized as either symptom-focused or systemic, with empirical support for specific methods ranging from scant to substantial. Even with treatment, behavioral and emotional problems often persist into adulthood resulting in poor functional outcomes. We suggest that self-regulation may be an important mediating factor in the appearance of emotional and behavioral disturbance in these children.