Position statement: On foster care international society of psychiatric-mental health nurses

Pam Galehouse, Charlotte Herrick, Sally Raphel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Problem: Mental health problems are particularly widespread for foster children. There are approximately 700,000 youth in foster care and nonfamily settings in the United States. The mean entry age is 3 years. The average stay is 2 years. Experts estimate that between 30% and 85% of youngsters in out-of-home care have significant emotional disturbances. Foster care children represent 5% of Medicaid enrollees but use approximately 40% of Medicaid funds. A substantial number of these children have psychological problems so serious that they require residential placement. Adolescents living with foster parents or in group homes have about four times the rate of serious psychiatric disorders than those living with their own families (2009a). Despite this level of need, less than one-third of children in the child protective system are receiving mental health services (2009a). Sources: Child psychiatric nurse advocates from the Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nurses Division of the International Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses compiled this position statement for adoption by the Board of Directors as the Association's formal statement on the plight of children and adolescents in foster care. Conclusions: Areas that need to be addressed include (a) lack of consistent and comprehensive service planning; (b) communications across agencies and with the youth, their foster parents, and key stakeholders; (c) use of evidence-based interventions to prevent and reduce the incidence of disability; (d) education of child welfare case workers about mental and emotional therapeutic management; and (e) education of foster parents and youth about mental health issues and appropriate treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-39
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Foster care
  • Mental health
  • Position statement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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