Children in government care face extraordinary challenges. Some of them may have entered care because they have experienced maltreatment. Then once in the care system, many continue to experience avoidable adversities, such as multiple changes of placement.
This situation can lead to inconsistent caring relationships, school disruptions and cultural disconnections. These children also face higher rates of mental disorders, lower rates of high-school graduation and more conflicts with the law.
Compounding these issues are the unfair burdens faced by Indigenous children who often experience overinvolvement of the child welfare system, an ongoing legacy of colonialism.
How to reduce the need for care — or manage it better when it’s necessary — was the subject of a report recently prepared by the Children’s Health Policy Centre at the request of the office of the BC Representative for Children and Youth.
The report identifies:
- Successful programs for preventing child maltreatment
- Numbers on the burden of mental disorders for children in care, with prevalence approximately four times higher than in the general population of children
- Successful prevention and treatment programs for addressing mental well-being specifically for children in government care
These findings can inform efforts to improve the well-being of some of British Columbia’s most disadvantaged children.
For more information and to review the entire report, see here.