Addressing the mental health needs of looked after children in foster care: the experiences of foster carers

York, W. & Jones, J. (2017). Addressing the mental health needs of looked after children in foster care: the experiences of foster carers. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 24(2-3), pp. 143-153. doi: 10.1111/jpm.12362

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[img] Text (Table 1 - Foster carer characteristics) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Text (Figure 1 - Diagram of Themes) - Supplemental Material
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Abstract

Introduction

Despite well-documented vulnerabilities to mental health problems among the increasing population of looked after children, there continues to be poor uptake and utilization of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

Aim

To elicit views of foster carers regarding the mental health needs of children and adolescents in their care and their experiences of accessing mental health services.

Methods

A grounded theory approach and semistructured interviews with ten foster carers.

Results

The experience of being a foster carer was the core category, with three major themes: (1) foster carers’ psychological understanding of challenging behaviour; (2) barriers to accessing CAMHS; (3) the importance of support.

Discussion

A key finding of this research is that barriers to accessing CAMHS were not experienced at the point of referral, but once within the mental health system. The foster carers demonstrated a proactive approach to accessing services but expressed a need for more support structures related directly to the viability of the placement.

Implications for practice

Mental health nurses have a pivotal role in providing a more responsive and needs-led service for this population; professional support to foster carers to include facilitating peer support; and clinical interventions for the looked after children.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: York, W. & Jones, J. (2017). Addressing the mental health needs of looked after children in foster care: the experiences of foster carers. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 24(2-3), pp. 143-153, which has been published in final form at 10.1111/jpm.12362. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS); children; foster carers; looked after children; mental health; young people
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Divisions: School of Health Sciences > Department of Child Health & Children's Nursing
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/16925

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