Researchers at the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety in the University of Pennsylvania Department of Psychiatry want to hear from those involved in the care of youth in the foster care system for a study on the topic of suicide risk assessments.
The center is conducting an online survey of case managers, foster parents, group home workers, supervisors, directors, behavioral health providers, primary care providers and other medical professionals who are involved in working with youth in foster care. The feedback will be used to design strategies to improve the assessment of suicide risk among these youth.
“Everyone is on board with the idea of trying to reduce suicide risk, but there’s not currently a systematic way to assess youth in the system for their suicide risk,” said Lily Brown, an assistant professor of psychology and director of the center.
Studies show children in foster care are four times more likely than other children to attempt to take their own lives. In one study of more than 700 California 17-year-olds in foster care, 41% reported they had thought about death by suicide and nearly one-quarter had attempted it.
In a research paper published last January, Brown made the case for a “universal suicide screening for foster youth” to be administered by caseworkers.
Individuals who complete the survey will be entered into a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card. Adults (age 18 or older) who are involved in the care of youth in foster care are invited to participate in this survey by clicking here.