Young Mothers Known to Child Welfare System More Likely to Suffer Untreated Health Issues

A research brief published by the PolicyLab at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) in January presents key findings on the health of young mothers with previous contact with the child welfare system.

“Nearly half of all Medicaid-financed births to mothers aged 15-24 occurred among women who were known to the child welfare system,” according to the report.

The brief, Health Status of Young Adult Mothers with a History of Child Welfare Involvement, reflects findings of other studies charting the health status of young mothers with a relationship to child welfare during their transition to motherhood.

Data was gathered by using medical assistance claims, child welfare records, and vital statistics of a 16,000 mother-infant cohort. Researchers observed data from 12 months prior to conception through 12 months post-birth to determine physical health conditions.

The brief pointed to research showing that mental health conditions such as depression and bipolar disorder were common among mothers with past child welfare involvement. Further, data showed that treatment for physical and mental health conditions past the post-birth stage was extremely low.

According to the report, adolescent childbearing is associated with an increased risk for adverse birth outcomes and use of negative parenting approaches.

The research suggests that young women with child welfare involvement are in need of health services as they transition to motherhood. Further, these mothers may be vulnerable to poor self-care during the post-birth stage.

Read the brief here.

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Marisol Zarate
About Marisol Zarate 15 Articles
Marisol is a summer fellow for The Chronicle of Social Change and Fostering Media Connections as part of Stanford University's Haas Center for Public Service fellowship program.

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