Children who have been removed from their parents' care by social services because of abuse or neglect and placed into protective care are known to have a high incidence of mental-health problems. An Australian project in Melbourne aimed to assess and help children far earlier in the process. Of 161 children assessed as part of the scheme more than 60% met criteria for a major psychiatric diagnosis with post-traumatic stress disorder and adjustment disorders being the most common diagnoses. Nearly three-quarters of participants over the age of five scored in the borderline or abnormal range on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. There were more children under 1 and in adolescence in the group being taken into care.
Milburn, Nicole L., Lynch, Marell and Jackson, Jennifer - Early identification of mental health needs for children in care: a therapeutic assessment programme for statutory clients of child protection Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry January 2008, 13(1), 31-47