Online Program

Tobacco and Other Drug Use Among Foster Care Children in West Virginia

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Halima Ahmadi-Montecalvo, MPH, Social and Behavioral Sciences, West Virginia University School of Public Health, Alexandria, VA
Christiaan Abildso, PhD, MPH, Social and Behavioral Sciences, West Virginia University School of Public Health, Morgantown, WV
Saylem DePasquale, MS, West Virginia University Center for Excellence in Disabilities, Morgantown, WV
Despite an overall decrease in the national trends, West Virginia experienced an increase in the number of children in Foster Care from 2002-2012 with recent trends showing 12.4% and 16.2% increases in the number of children in FC (4,226 to 4,825) and entry rate per 1,000 children (7.4 to 8.6), respectively, from 2009 to 2012. Children in the child welfare system are subject to unique experiences that may put them at high risk for substance use problems with long-term adverse health and behavioral implications. This paper presents tobacco and other drug use data from a statewide health screening program (HealthCheck) of FC children in West Virginia and compares these data across placement type and other demographics in order to identify potential areas for training, education, or intervention of FC providers.

Chi-square analyses were conducted to determine if age, gender, placement type and geographic region were associated with tobacco and other drug use among 1,710, 12-17 year olds screened in 2012-2013. Over a quarter (32%) of the 12-17 year old adolescents smoked cigarettes and 24% used other drugs at the time of screening. Analyses showed that age was significantly associated with tobacco (χ2 = 71.782, p <.001, df = 2) and drug use (X2 = 51.367, p <.001, df = 1,) with a significant difference in drug use between male and female FC adolescents (χ2 = 4.353, p=.031, df = 1). Analyses also revealed that placement type (agency vs. home) was significantly associated with tobacco (X2 = 424.483, p <.001, df = 1) and other drug use (X2 = 324.963, p <.001, df = 1) in this population. Programmatic and policy implications of these analyses will be presented and discussed.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the extent of tobacco use, tobacco exposure, and other drug use of Foster Care children in West Virginia Explain implications of the results Identify recommendations in terms of interventions and training and certification needs for Foster Care providers

Keyword(s): Tobacco Use, Minority Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked on several projects related to adolescent risk behaviors including tobacco and drug use. Among my scientific interests has been the development of strategies to explore and address co-occurring behavioral issues in minority adolescent populations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.