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

Green, MJ, Hindmarsh, G, Kariuki, M, Laurens, KR, Neil, AL ORCID: 0000-0002-1344-6672, Katz, I, Chilvers, M, Harris, F and Carr, VJ 2019 , 'Mental disorders in children known to child protection services during early childhood' , Medical Journal of Australia , pp. 1-7 , doi: 10.5694/mja2.50392.

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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 Type: Article
Authors/Creators: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
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
Journal or Publication Title: Medical Journal of Australia
Publisher: Australasian Med Publ Co Ltd
ISSN: 0025-729X
DOI / ID Number: 10.5694/mja2.50392
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© 2019 AMPCo Pty Ltd

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