The Point of View of Children in Residential and Foster Care on their Health: A Comparative Study

Emmanuelle Toussaint, Agnès Florin, Jean-Michel Galharret

Although it is a major issue, the health of children and adolescents in care is still mainly explored on the basis of information provided by adults in French studies. This study therefore aims to make up for the lack of studies integrating the young people’s own point of view and to explore certain aspects of health, as reported by the children and adolescents themselves, by comparing the health of children in care with that of children in the general population.

The sample consists of 477 children in care (versus 23,672 who are not). The data were collected through a cross-sectional survey conducted by UNICEF France between October 2020 and March 2022 among 25,300 children and adolescents aged 6 to 18 who responded to a paper or online self-administered questionnaire.

The main results of this study confirm the existing findings concerning the much greater health care needs of children and adolescents placed outside their homes (foster families, children’s homes) compared to their peers. In particular, they underline greater psychological suffering linked to their life histories, health risk practices, sexual violence, and suicidal risk.

The discussion addresses the complexity of the issues associated with their health and underlines the importance of taking into account the child’s own point of view.

The point of view of children in residential and foster care on their health: A comparative study