A new study has found that adults who experience care as children are more likely to suffer ill health in adulthood, forming part of a growing body of research highlighting the flaws in children’s social care.
The research, which was produced by UCL and King’s College London universities and led by Professor Amanda Sacker, found that children who grow up in children’s homes had a 40% chance of suffering with poor health ten years after leaving care, with that figure jumping to 85% thirty years after leaving care.
The researchers also noted that children who grew up in every type of care setting fared worse in terms of their health than their counterparts who stayed with a relative.
The study shows that children growing up in any type of care setting have more health problems 10, 20 and 30 years after leaving care than peers who stay with family.
By contrast, children growing up with their parents only have a 13% chance of reporting bad health after 10 years, which rises to 21% later on in their lifetimes.
Men and women who spent their childhood with other relatives, experienced poor health 21% to 43% over the same 30-year period.
In 2018, a study also led by Professor Sacker, found that children in care were twice as likely to die earlier than those living with their birth parents.
Although the two pieces of research have different titles, it is not clear whether the 2018 findings and the current published research originate from two separate studies or are part of a broader research project.
Both pieces of research use data gathered from 350,000 people, spanning roughly the same time periods.
The studies conclude that children placed in care are more likely to report worse health decades later than children who grow up in a parental household.
Research published in June found that children in care in Southern Australia were 52% more likely to be hospitalised by their mid-teens than those children who had no contact with the care system.
Increased hospitalisation rates for children in care continued on into adulthood, with most people being admitted for mental illness, drug abuse and physical injury during childhood and beyond.
- Non-parental care in childhood and health up to 30 years later: ONS Longitudinal Study 1971–2011 (Emily T Murray, Rebecca Lacey, Barbara Maughan, Amanda Sacker) 19 July, 2020
- Press release, 20 July, 2020
- Children in Care More Likely To Die Earlier Than Those Left With Their Birth Parents
- Children in Care 52% More Likely to Be Hospitalised Than Those Who Have No Contact With Care System