Health needs of Australian children living in out-of-home care

J Paediatr Child Health. 2007 Oct;43(10):695-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1754.2007.01193.x.


Background: Children living in out-of-home care have high and frequently unidentified health needs. The Child Protection Unit at Sydney Children's Hospital offers comprehensive health screening to children in care.

Aims: To report the experience of the health screening clinic and the rates of identified health problems of children in care in this sample, and to compare these rates with the general child population and children in care overseas.

Methods: Comprehensive multidisciplinary health screens were offered to children in out-of-home care.

Results: High rates of physical, developmental and emotional health problems were identified. The rates of poor health were greater than the average child population of New South Wales, but similar to the rates of poor health reported in children in care overseas.

Conclusions: Children in care are a vulnerable group of the child population who experience unacceptable levels of poor health. Comprehensive health screens can help identify previously undetected health problems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child Welfare / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mental Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • New South Wales
  • Urban Population