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Infectious Disorders - Drug Targets


ISSN (Print): 1871-5265
ISSN (Online): 2212-3989

Addressing the Health, Developmental and Social Outcomes of Children Exposed to Perinatal and Infectious Risks

Author(s): Bhavesh K. Mehta and Shanti Raman

Volume 14 , Issue 3 , 2014

Page: [172 - 176] Pages: 5

DOI: 10.2174/1871526514666141014144505

Price: $65


Objective: There is strong evidence of a link between parental substance use and/or mental health problems and adverse outcomes in children. We wanted to know the impact of these early childhood adversities on the health and social outcomes of children. We also wanted to determine whether early identification of these risks made a difference to the child’s outcome and what effective strategies and interventions are available that will ensure the safety of children, provide support for them and improve their long-term outcomes. Method: This was a retrospective analysis of children attending a specialized Pediatric (“Branches”) clinic in South West Sydney; set up for children exposed to perinatal risks including parental substance use and/or mental health problems. Total of 124 children attended the Branches clinic from January 2006 to December 2009. Data recorded included health, developmental and social outcomes. Result: Mean age of first presentation to the clinic was 3.95 years, majority (63%) were in foster care. Parental substance abuse was identified in 73% of the cases while parental mental health disorder was documented in 48% cases. A range of infection and other health related problems were identified, including the risk of hepatitis C transmission. Almost one third of children had incomplete immunization (29%) and over 90% of children needed referrals to services. We did not find any difference in outcomes or age of first presentation to the clinic between children identified in the perinatal period, compared to those not identified early. Conclusion: Our study found significant health problems in children exposed to perinatal risks. Early or perinatal identification of these risks did not affect outcomes in our setting. Better coordination between maternity, pediatrics, hospital and community services may improve child outcomes through earlier identification of health concerns.

Keywords: Early identification, early intervention, parental mental health disorders, perinatal risk, substance use, vulnerable children.

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