Children raised by relatives face greater health risk

10:46, May 03, 2010      

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Children raised by relatives instead of their parents are at increased risk for physical and mental health problems, U.S. researchers suggest.

Researchers at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry came to the conclusion after analyzing data from more than 91,000 children included in a 2007 national survey, the HealthDay News reported on Sunday.

The study compared children living with relatives with those raised by at least one birth parent.

The findings showed that children living with relatives, called kinship care, had poor overall health or mental health.

Compared with children who lived with a parent, children in kinship care were more likely to be black, older than 9 years, have public health insurance and live in households with incomes at or near the poverty level, the researchers noted.

Like those in foster care, children in kinship care experience a number of health issues, the study concluded.

"Children who live in kinship care with a relative have more special health-care needs, mental health problems such as ( attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) and depression and dental problems compared with children who live with their parents, " said lead researcher Dr. Sara B. Eleoff at the school.

"These children and their families may need additional services and supports," Eleoff said. "Therefore, health-care providers, educators and public health agencies should ask about children's living situations and consider the risk of special needs among children in kinship care."

It is estimated that about 2.8 million children in the United States live in kinship care, and about 800,000 in foster care.

Source: Xinhua


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