Half of children born to mothers in foster care will also enter into the child welfare system by their second birthday, according to a study published in this month’s issue of the journal Pediatrics.
The intergenerational cycle of foster care is a well-known phenomenon to advocates and child welfare workers, but new data illustrates the significance of this pipeline into foster care.
“These young women have often experienced abuse or neglect, do not have a positive attachment to their primary caregiver, and have lived with many different caregivers, which can make the transition to motherhood more challenging,” said the report, which examined the outcomes for more than 5,000 teen mothers in Canada.
Young women in foster care are more than twice as likely to become pregnant as a teen than their non-system involved peers, research shows.
The study followed 576 foster youth who gave birth while in care and 5,366 non-systems involved teen moms. Of those mothers in foster care, 25 percent had their child removed within the first week of life. For another 17 percent, the removal occurred after that first week, but before the child’s first birthday. An additional 7 percent had a child taken into care between their first and second birthdays.
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