Study suggests having kids in foster care bad for mothers
A new study out of the University of Manitoba shows kids are not the only ones affected by the child welfare system — mothers of children who have been taken into foster care see a significant deterioration in their health and social situation after apprehension.
The study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, looked at the health records and other data of mothers whose first child was born in Manitoba between April 1998 and March 2011. Half of the mothers, just shy of 1,600 women, had their child taken into care after the age of two while the children of the other group of women remained in their care.
The results found the rates of mental illness diagnoses, treatment use, and social factors were “significantly higher” for the mothers whose children were taken into foster care, says Elizabeth Wall-Wieler, a doctoral candidate with the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy who conducted the study along with colleagues with the U of M.
“Research has shown that the children often suffer and we see much higher rates of suicide attempts and suicides among children… but now we also know this has really bad consequences for mothers,” she said.