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Trauma Among Foster Kids Leads To Health Issues In Later Life

<p>People who've been through foster care systems, like the Oregon Department of Human Services, are more likely to suffer from chronic health conditions later in life, according to a new study.</p>

Bradley W. Parks

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People who've been through foster care systems, like the Oregon Department of Human Services, are more likely to suffer from chronic health conditions later in life, according to a new study.

People who experience trauma and end up in foster care are more likely to suffer from chronic health conditions later in life, according to .

Researcher Keri Vartanian, with the Providence Center for Outcomes Research and Education, said the fact that foster kids experience trauma isn’t surprising.

“What we found surprising was the extreme prevalence of trauma in this population," she said. "Every single measure of adversity that we looked at in childhood was significantly more prevalent in the foster care population.”

Vartanian's study found half of the kids who were in foster care at some point reported physical, verbal or sexual abuse. They also reported being far from prepared to live on their own afterwards.

The study also found they were more likely to experience poor physical health, mental illness, food insecurity and housing problems.

A spokeswoman with Oregon's Child Welfare office said the report does not include data from children currently in foster care, so it wouldn’t be appropriate to comment.

The Portland area coordinated care organization Health Share commissioned the report, saying it’s trying to improve care for people who’ve been through the foster care system.

Copyright 2017 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Kristian Foden-Vencil is a reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He specializes in health care, business, politics, law and public safety.