Psychology, Department of


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Community Mental Health Journal 41:2 (April 2005), pp. 199–221;

doi: 10.1007/s10597-005-2656-7


© 2005 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. Used by permission.


A substantial number of children in foster care exhibit psychiatric difficulties. Recent epidemiologi-cal and historical trends in foster care, clinical findings about the adjustment of children in foster care, and adult outcomes are reviewed, followed by a description of current approaches to treatment and extant empirical support. Available interventions for these children can be categorized as either symptom-focused or systemic, with empirical support for specific methods ranging from scant to substantial. Even with treatment, behavioral and emotional problems often persist into adulthood, resulting in poor functional outcomes. We suggest that self-regulation may be an important mediat-ing factor in the appearance of emotional and behavioral disturbance in these children.

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