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The Health of Looked after Children and Young People : a Summary of the Literature

Kennedy, Lisa Ann and Priestley, Andrea (2015) The Health of Looked after Children and Young People : a Summary of the Literature. [Report]

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This paper gives an overview of some of the main research findings regarding the physical health, mental health and health behaviours of looked after children. The paper begins with a child-level discussion of the health needs of looked after children, before considering some factors at the family-level, community-level and societal level which impact on the health of looked after children. The approach taken emphasises the importance of context and illustrates the need to attend to and understand the environment in which children, young people and adults are situated. The emerging implications for policy and practice have a common component in that they require an attendance to the diversity and individuality of looked after children. This is reflected in the call for more targeted data collection, robustness of research, reviews of the effectiveness of current interventions and consistent evaluation.