Former child welfare clients and suicide?
Former child welfare clients were in year of birth and sex standardized risk ratios (RRs) four to five times more likely than peers in the general population to have been hospitalized for suicide attempts. They were five to eight times more likely to have been hospitalized for serious psychiatric disorders in their teens, four to six times in young adulthood. High excess risks were also found for psychoses and depression. Individuals who had been in long-term foster care tended to have the most dismal outcome. Adjusting for birth parents' hospitalization with a psychiatric diagnosis or for substance abuse, and for birth-home-related socio-economic factors, reduced excess risks to around twofold. CONCLUSIONS: Irrespective of issues of causality, findings suggest that former child welfare/protection clients should be considered a high-risk group for suicide attempts and severe psychiatric morbidity. Results have substantial practice implications for mental health and social agencies serving this group in adolescence and/or young adulthood.