Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fostering and mental health

There are approximately half a million children and adolescents in foster care in the U.S. and it is estimated that between 42 and 60% of them have emotional and behavioural problems. Despite the high prevalence of mental-health problems in these children little is known about how such problems affect the outcome of foster placements. A study of 5,978 children in Illinois looked at their medical records to see whether they had received inpatient mental-health care and followed their progress for several years to see how their foster placements turned out. Five percent of the children had had at least one episode of inpatient mental-health care prior to being placed in foster care. The children who received inpatient psychiatric care had a substantially greater risk for parent-child separation. They were also at a greater risk for frequent placement disruptions and were less likely to be reunited with their birth family or permanently adopted. About half of the sample experienced more than three placement changes during their first spell in foster care. Having had inpatient care raised the risk of placement instability by 75% among White children and 24% among African-American children.

You can find out more about this research at

1 comment:

DrJonesAnimalAgentzDotCom said...

I would like to tell you about an innovative and interactive web-based product for children, which enables them to better deal with anxiety and stress. It is useful as a relaxation tool and has many applications. It was first developed as a PhD and medical trials were conducted at Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital in London.

The individual Animal Agentz characters teach children coping skills which range from breathing to self-esteem techniques in stressful times such as first time flying e.g. "Bubbles" the fish can teach many different breathing techniques to relax prior, during or after a stressful event.

In summary Animal Agentz teaches children a good set of skills to cope with stressful situations. Children are therefore better prepared to face a variety of challenging life events.

We have received full support by Dr Chris Steel MBE at ITV's Morning Show and Lord Professor Winston.

It is successful as a relaxation and coping device and makes it ideal for dealing with children in stressful clinical situations e.g. when they are facing an injection, visit to a dentist, hospital or family doctor. It can also be applied to other conditions such as ADHD and autism.
It is also useful in non-medical situations to help calm child down during school examinations, difficult meal times or when shopping and when the child may have a tantrum/naughty behavior, Animal Agentz can help.

If we teach children positive coping skills while they are young, they will be better equipped as young adults to deal with negative issues in a more positive and informed manner.

How does Animal Agentz website work?

Animal Agentz is composed of five animal characters; a fish called "Bubbles" a cat called "Yo-Yo" a dog called "Stretch" a monkey called "Cheiko" and a lion called "Rory".

The individual Animal Agentz characters teach children coping skills which range from breathing to self-esteem techniques in stressful times such as first time flying e.g. "Bubbles" the fish can teach many different breathing techniques to relax prior, during or after a stressful event.

One mother said "If you say to a child 'relax' it means nothing but if you let your child play with Animal Agentz 'fish' (breathing skills) and then say to the child what did the fish do? I then found him acting out the 'fish skills' and becoming relaxed!"

A good example was when my child had a tantrum/ naughty in a shop/school and I said "what does the fish do?" and my child started to breath like the fish skill and calmed down"!

When we recently conducted an independent trial of our product, we found parents had many more applications for which they used Animal Agentz.

The Animal Agentz behaviours are as follows:
Breathing skills; taught by a fish
Stretching skills; taught by a dog
Distraction skills; taught by a cat

Guided imagery skills; taught by a monkey

Positive self statements; taught by a lion

The parents applied these behaviours in new ways to help their child.
Responses from independent research:

"This is perfect and what me and my family have been waiting years for. My 9 yr old has A.D.H.D and presents behavioural difficulties. His biological father rejected him a yr ago and this hasn't helped, his self esteem is very low and finds making new friends very stressful. The local social services tell me he needs therapy like this but are unable to provide it! I am having to pay a private therapist to help my son so when this comes in which I know would benefit many parents that I email, talk to…

Great idea and very user friendly, fab idea and so much needed for the 21st century where many children face daily struggles with little or no help and so they suffer. I am in 100% support of this stimulating and so much needed idea!"
Mrs Garvey, East Yorkshire

"I did these exercises with my daughter; she loved them and wants to play again."
Mrs Rogers, Plymouth

"This product is excellent and would also be beneficial to children with disorders such as ADHD. It would also be a great intro DVD for children who are about to be admitted to hospital as there was nothing like this about when my son had to go in for a heart op and it would have helped him no end."
Miss Gooch, Norwich

"I think it's an extremely good idea."
Mrs Hirst, Eastbourne

"Whilst doing this survey my son who is 7 and a type 1 diabetic came to watch and listen of his own accord; he really liked it."
Ms Halden, West Midland

"Great idea as it is."
Miss Hartley, Lancashire

"I looked at the video with my 6 yr old and she loved it."
Mrs Reeves, Norfolk

"This would be well received in schools."
Mrs McFadden, Antrim

"Responses from independent research conducted by Mum's Views Ltd"

Market Research:

Independent research conducted by Animal Agentz Limited demonstrates parents and their children found our system fun, and easy-to-use for a variety of medical and non-medical issues. Animal Agentz commissioned Mums View Limited who worked with the director of children's marketing at Leapfrog toys Limited. We found children wanting to play with it over and over

Animal Agentz has a wider application for non-medical use such as stress management and relaxation. It may also help children who are disruptive and "naughty" to become compliant and happy with many issues.

Research has proved that doctors and other hospital professionals in England and America recommend the use of Animal Agentz to help children with ADHD and autism. The main distribution route is web-based via the internet but could be extended to a variety of educational products such as soft toys, books and DVD's.

The research version of Animal Agentz was seen by medical doctors at the American Academy of Paediatrics with great interest (2005/7).

Animal Agentz was demonstrated at the British Medical Association in London and an integrated complementary medical health event in New York, November 2008.

The research has spanned a total of twelve years and is completely novel in its approach. The product has not been produced before because there is a central worldwide market focus on pharmacological drug-based methods and most research is funded by drug companies.

There is a free trial now at the web site

We are looking for support, funding and awareness.

Best wishes

Mark Jones
CBT Product for Children