Bellamy, this study is from the National Survey

Bellamy, Gopalan & Traube (2010) aimed
to study if the mental health services children are receiving in foster care
are making a difference for them. A two-stage combined stratification and
cluster design was used to collect the sample of children (Bellamy et al,
2010). This, in turn, minimized the risk of internal validity. For outcomes,
they engaged in externalizing and internalizing behavior problems using the Child
Behavior Check List (Bellamy et al, 2010). This tool has been a common
measurement used in previous studies of the same topic, making it an adequate
tool for this study.

“The findings of this study suggest that
outpatient mental health services provided to children who have experienced
long term foster care in the United States do not result in any improvement in
children’s behavioral health” (Bellamy et al, 2010). In other words, these
children’s behavioral health are staying the same, proving that they are not
receiving the help that they need. These findings can be generalizable across
the mental health system as a whole, which means this study contains external
validity. The researchers’ biggest limitation was that that had a hard time
balancing the different types of maltreatment for each child. One limitation
that they did not address but that I believe is important was that they do not
define maltreatment. There are many different views of maltreatment. Therefore,
defining it could have been more helpful to readers.

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Burns et al (2004) aimed
to study how the need for mental health services in the foster care system is
increasing and how the services are currently being used. The data presented in
this study is from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (Burns
et al, 2004). Due to the fact that this is a nationally represented sample,
this makes the data and survey significant. The study’s design consisted of a
stratified two-stage sample (Burns et al, 2004).  This is appropriate for this study because it
is a large sample size which makes it more statistically significant because it
more reliably reflects the population mean. Continuous t-tests were used to
control for multiple comparisons (Burns et al, 2004). I believe that this strengthened
their internal validity because it is important to know if there was
significant difference between the means of the two groups. This study found
that over half of the children who enter the child welfare system have emotional
and/or behavioral problems (Burns et al, 2004).  These findings are statistically significant
because previous research on the same topic have had similar findings/results
(Burns et al, 2004).

            The authors identify five limitations. A couple of them
are measurement issues and reliability and validity (Burns et al, 2004). To add
on to their already mentioned limitations, when parents were reporting their
children’s behavior, they could have been using social desirability. A
different way researchers could have approached this was maybe observing the
children themselves so they avoid social desirability.

            Minnis, Everett, Pelosi, Dunn &
Knapp (2006) aimed to evaluate how common mental health illnesses in children
in the foster care system are. The children who were sampled were included in
either medium to long-term foster care or permanent foster care (Minnis et al,
2006). This is good because it makes the results more generalizable to children
in long-term or permanent foster care, emphasizing its external validity. The
study has a strong randomized control trial.  For measures, they used the Strengths and
Difficulties Questionnaire which focused on both the strengths and weaknesses
of the child (Minnis et al, 2006). This is a good tool to use because it is
highly supported. To control for internal consistency, they used the Reactive
Attachment Disorder Questionnaire (Minnis et al, 2006). Extraneous variables
were entered into the regression model one by one (Minnis et al, 2006). This
may have increased their risk of bias. They only studied male foster parents if
there was no mother in the picture with the father, which may have led to bias.
The main findings supported the authors’ hypothesis that almost all of the
children studied had been maltreated and/or have mental health problems (Minnis
et al, 2006).

            The study’s biggest limitation was
that their concern for a biased sample (Minnis et al, 2006). While I do agree
with the mentioned limitations in the article, I do believe that there are more
that were not mentioned. The biggest one was the fact that the SDQ could have
been filled out by the parents, which can call for potential bias and social
desirability.

            Tarren-Sweeney (2017) aims to see if
there are any changes in the mental health of children who are in long-term
foster care over a long period of time. Researchers used the Children in Care epidemiological
study of mental health children in long-term foster care (Tarren-Sweeney,
2017). This was a good tool to use because it included a follow up which is
always good to have because it checks for consistency. They used the CBCL to
measure the child’s behavior (Tarren-Sweeney, 2017). Again, this seems like a widely
used tool in studies of the same topic, making it a satisfactory tool. To
control for internalizing and externalizing factors, they measured social,
attention and thought problems (Tarren-Sweeney, 2017). Given the assessments
and different aspects that were measured, this study has strong internal
validity. Results confirmed the research question: the children studied had
extremely poor mental health. “The findings suggest that the distribution of mental
health difficulties among children growing up in long-term care is unchanged
over a seven-to nine-year period” (Tarren-Sweeney, 2017, p. 7). This proves that
children with mental health issues are not receiving the proper care that they
need. The authors mention two limitations: “high sample attrition and
collection of data at only two points in time” (Tarren-Sweeney, 2017). Since data
was collected during two points in time, this could make this study a causal
relationship.

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