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Mental disorders in children known to child protection services during early childhood

Citation

Green, MJ and Hindmarsh, G and Kariuki, M and Laurens, KR and Neil, AL and Katz, I and Chilvers, M and Harris, F and Carr, VJ, Mental disorders in children known to child protection services during early childhood, Medical Journal of Australia pp. 1-7. ISSN 0025-729X (2019) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2019 AMPCo Pty Ltd

DOI: doi:10.5694/mja2.50392

Abstract

Objectives: To examine associations between being the subject of child protection reports in early childhood and diagnoses of mental disorders during middle childhood, by level of service response.

Design, Setting, Participants: Retrospective analysis of linked New South Wales administrative data, 2001-2016, for a population cohort of children (mean age in 2016, 13.2 years; SD, 0.37 years) enrolled in the longitudinal NSW Child Development Study (NSW-CDS), wave 2 linkage.

Main Outcome Measures: Associations between being the subject of a child protection report (any, and by level of child protection response) during early childhood (birth to 6 years of age) and diagnoses of mental disorders during middle childhood (6-14 years).

Results: 13 796 of 74 462 children in the NSW-CDS (18.5%) had been the subjects of reports to child protection services during early childhood: 1148 children had been placed in out-of-home care at least once, and 1680 had been the subjects of substantiated risk-of-significant-harm reports but were not placed in care, while 9161 had non-substantiated reports, and 1807 had reports of facts that did not reach the threshold for significant harm. After adjusting for sex, socio-economic disadvantage, perinatal complications, and parental mental illness, early childhood contact with protection services was associated with increased frequency of being diagnosed with a mental disorder during middle childhood (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 2.72; 95% CI, 2.51-2.95). The frequency was highest for children who had been placed in out-of-home care (aOR, 5.25; 95% CI, 4.46-6.18).

Conclusion: Childhood-onset mental disorders are more frequently diagnosed in children who come to the attention of child protection services during early childhood, particularly in children placed in out-of-home care.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:childhood adversity, mental disorders, out-of-home care, child psychiatry, mental health policy, population health, social determinants of health, stress, trauma and stressor related disorders
Research Division:Medical and Health Sciences
Research Group:Public Health and Health Services
Research Field:Epidemiology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health)
Objective Field:Child Health
UTAS Author:Neil, AL (Dr Amanda Neil)
ID Code:135597
Year Published:2019
Funding Support:National Health and Medical Research Council (1133833)
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2019-11-05
Last Modified:2019-12-06
Downloads:0

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