Lenora Marcellus & Dorothy Badry (2021) Infants, children, and youth in foster care with prenatal substance exposure: a synthesis of two scoping reviews, International Journal of Developmental Disabilities, DOI: 10.1080/20473869.2021.1945890
Background: Infants, children, and youth in foster care have frequently experienced prenatal substance exposure (PSE), neglect, and maltreatment as well as disruptions in their relationships with families. They also have great capacity for overcoming early adversities. In this synthesis of two previously conducted scoping reviews, we aimed to identify and describe literature that identifies a range of interventions that support the health and development of this population.
Methods: This review integrates and extends two previously conducted scoping reviews, one focusing on infants and one focusing on children and youth, to synthesize themes across these developmental stages. The Joanna Briggs Institute scoping review methodology was employed for the current and previous reviews. A three-step search strategy identified published studies in the English language from January 2006 to February 2020.
Results: One-hundred and fifty-three sources were included in this review. Four themes were identified: (1) early screening, diagnosis, and intervention; (2) providing theoretically grounded care; (3) supporting parents and foster care providers; and (4) intersectoral collaboration.
Conclusion: Infants, children, and youth with PSE are overrepresented in foster care. Child welfare system planning should take a multi-sectoral approach to addressing the cumulative needs of this population and their care providers over developmental ages and stages. Although research remains limited, early screening, diagnosis, and developmentally and FASD-informed intersectoral interventions are critical for optimizing outcomes.