Home Medizin Studie zeigt hohe Raten geistiger Behinderung bei Jugendlichen in Pflegefamilien

Studie zeigt hohe Raten geistiger Behinderung bei Jugendlichen in Pflegefamilien

von NFI Redaktion

Adolescents placed in foster care have a higher risk of psychiatric disorders, trauma, and poor outcomes in adulthood compared to their peers. However, there is a lack of research on how adolescents with disabilities, including autism and intellectual disabilities, interact with this system. In order to drive improvements in their outcomes, evidence is needed on how adolescents with autism or intellectual disabilities access and utilize services in the foster care system.

Recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics, researchers at the AJ Drexel Autism Institute of Drexel University, in collaboration with the Department of Social Work at George Mason University and the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, conducted an intersectional analysis to examine the involvement of adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities in foster care (including autism) and how it has evolved in the United States, using a cross-section of national Medicaid claims data from 2016.

In 2016, there were over 430,000 adolescents in the US foster care system. The researchers found that the number of adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities in foster care had significantly increased to nearly 40,000 – or almost 9%. The rate of autism and intellectual disability among adolescents in foster care was two to five times higher than the rates found in the general US population. Among adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities, black and female adolescents were at a higher risk of being placed in foster care than white or male adolescents. The risk of placement in foster care also increased with age.

Understanding the involvement of adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the foster care system is an important first step in identifying priorities for necessary policy and programmatic changes. Our team of experts in public health, policy, and social work sought to understand this population in the Medicaid system.“


Lindsay Shea, DrPH, Associate Professor and Director of the Policy and Analytics Center at the Autism Institute and lead author of the study

The research team utilized the largest sources of Medicaid claims data to examine the entire US Medicaid system. The examination of adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the Medicaid foster care system is timely and important, as Medicaid is the predominant insurer for adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities in foster care. However, there may be obstacles in how states connect services for adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities with the foster care system.

„This research focuses on the experiences of a highly vulnerable and often invisible group of foster youth. The first step in supporting these youth is to ensure their experiences are visible,“ said Amy Blank Wilson, PhD, Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and co-author of the study.

Research focusing on autism often limits obstacles in reaching marginalized groups, partially due to competing demands for families and individuals. The use of secondary data sources, such as Medicaid claims, presents an innovative way to observe the experiences of individuals enrolled in the Medicaid system. In turn, this research presents new opportunities for how policies or programs in Medicaid could be reorganized or linked, including strengthening support for adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the foster care system.

„A strength of this work lies in the important consideration of intersecting identities of race, ethnicity, gender, age, and disability,“ said Melissa L. Villodas, PhD, Assistant Professor at George Mason University and co-author of the research. „The more we know about the unique challenges that arise from marginalization, the more responsive we can be in our efforts towards equitable policies and practices.“

Source:

Journal Reference:

Shea, L., et al. (2024). Advancing the Involvement of Adolescents with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in Foster Care. JAMA Pediatrics. doi.org/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2023.6580.

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