An understanding of the needs of abused children in foster care is basic to the provision of treatment and intervention. Psychiatric disorders are prevalent among such children. A study in London of adolescents in residential units and living with foster care families found the rate of psychiatric disorders among this group (65 percent) much higher than the rate of psychiatric disorders among the general adolescent population (15 percent). The range of psychiatric problems among the adolescents in the care system included conduct disorder, overanxiety, depression, and unspecified functional psychosis. The authors of the study concluded that these adolescents could be helped with the right type of treatment and intervention: "One of the most worrying findings was that a significant number of adolescents were suffering from severe, potentially treatable psychiatric disorders which had gone undetected" (McCann et al., 1996, p. 1529). Social services professionals must direct their attention and resources to this disadvantaged segment of the population.
Abused children often suffer from some of the same mental and emotional problems as their abusive parents. These problems include bipolar disorder, substance abuse, and fetal alcohol syndrome. These disorders make it difficult for a successful adoption placement to occur. The problems of some children are so severe that adoption placement is not the appropriate... [continues]
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