Foster Care Linked to Improved Growth

MINNEAPOLIS, April 7 (UPI) — U.S. researchers found gains in physical growth and intelligence in orphanage children after they were placed in foster care.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, led by Dr. Dana Johnson, found children assigned to foster care showed rapid increases in height and weight gain, and by 12 months all were in the normal range.

Johnson and colleagues measured growth and intelligence at 30, 42 and 54 months for 136 children from Romanian orphanages in Bucharest — average age of 21 months — randomly assigned either to stay where they were or to go to foster homes. Also included in the study were 72 children who were never institutionalized.

The report, published online in advance of print in the June issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, found caregiving quality was a key predictor of catch-up growth. Components of the caregiving-quality score that correlated positively with catch-up growth included sensitivity to the child and positive regard — acceptance, respect, warmth and expressions of physical affection — the study said.

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