Individuals who were in foster care experience higher rates of physical and psychiatric morbidity than the general population and suffer from not being able to trust and that can lead to placements breaking down. In a study of adults who were in foster care in Oregon andWashington state, they were found to have double the incidence of depression, 20% as compared to 10% and were found to have a higher rate of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than combat veterans with 25% of those studied having PTSD. Children in foster care have a higher probability of having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and deficits in executive functioning, anxiety as well as other developmental problems. These children experience higher degrees of incarceration, poverty, homelessness, and suicide. Recent studies in the U.S. suggest that foster care placements are more detrimental to children than remaining in a troubled home.
Foster care has been shown in various studies to have deleterious consequences on the physical health and mental wellbeing of those who were in foster care. Many children enter foster care at a very young age, a period where the development of mental and psychological processes are at one of their critical peaks. The human brain doesn’t fully develop until approximately the age of 25, and one of the most critical periods of brain development occurs in the first 3–4 years. The processes that govern the development of personality traits, stress response and cognitive skills are formed during this period. The developing brain is directly influenced by negative environmental factors including lack of stimulation due to emotional neglect, poor nutrition, exposure to violence in the home environment and child abuse.