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Effective interventions to reduce suicidal thoughts and behaviours among children in contact with child protection and out-of-home care systems: a rapid evidence review

Foster care Youth suicide Child welfare Out-of-home care Residential care Australia

Suicide is the leading cause of death over the past six years in young people generally, and it has increased across every state and jurisdiction. This increase is concerning. Evidence suggests children and young people in out-of-home care are 4.9 times more likely to display suicidal behaviour than their ‘at home’ peers. More than 170,000 children were brought to the attention of child protection services across Australia in the 2018-19 period. This is alarming and warrants appropriate interventions to prevent suicidal behaviour in children and young people who interact with the child protection and out-of-home care systems.

The aim of this rapid evidence review is to outline the role played by involvement in the child protection system—including placement in OOHC—as a risk factor for suicidal behaviour. The authors also aim to review the effectiveness of interventions focused on OOHC for at-risk children in reducing suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts and suicide deaths.

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