To compare the health-related quality of life (HRQL) of 326 children and adolescents aged 6–17 years living in home-based foster care in metropolitan Adelaide, South Australia with the HRQL of a random sample of 3,582 children aged 6–17 years living in the community in Australia.
In both groups, HRQL was assessed using the 50-item version of the Child Health Questionnaire (CHQ-PF50) completed by caregivers/parents, and the 87-item self-report version of the Child Health Questionnaire (CHQ-CF87) completed by 13–17 year olds.
Young people in home-based foster care had significantly poorer HRQL in a wide range of different domains than those in the general community. Furthermore, among children in home-based foster care, those with mental health problems had significantly poorer HRQL in many domains than those without mental health problems. Demographic and placement characteristics of the children in home-based foster care were not significantly associated with differences in HRQL.
The findings highlight the importance of providing services and resources to improve the quality of life of children living in home-based foster care.