Adolescence is generally a time of good health. More than 50% of illness and death during adolescence is due to risky behaviour such as drug taking and under-age sex. Children in foster care tend to have poorer health than other children with more acute health problems, chronic illnesses and poor nutrition but little research has been done into risk-taking behaviour among this group. Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco studied 56 children in foster care. They found that they were more likely to engage in risky behaviour although younger children and those who were fostered by relatives were not quite as likely to behave riskily. Risk behaviour was increased for children who were in care homes, who had experienced a parental death, or who had a history of physical or emotional abuse or attempted suicide.
Gramkowski, Bridget ... [et al] - Health risk behavior of youth in foster care Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing May 2009, 22(2), 77-85