Substance misuse and binge drinking 'higher in young people in foster care'


A Cardiff University study of secondary school students (11-16 years) in Wales looked at the issues affecting youngsters and their relationship with caregivers, teachers and friends.

Those in foster care reported almost 8 times the rates of weekly smoking compared to young people living with both parents, and almost 4 times higher than among those living with a single mother.

Young people living in foster care experience significantly worse outcomes than young people not in care, likely due to a range of care and pre-care factors, which can impact adversely on the formation of positive and healthy social relationships.

Our research highlights a real need for the development and evaluation of interventions to improve wellbeing, and reduce substance use among young people in foster care by supporting looked after young people in the development of healthy interpersonal relationships.

– Dr Sara Long, Cardiff University