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Children At Risk Evaluation - CARE

In the CARE study we address mental health and care needs of high-risk children entering out-of-home care, living in foster homes, or with mothers in Opiate Maintenance Treatment (OMT).


The study is funded by the Norwegian Research Council as from 2016, for four years. The grant application was for a new program in the council, focusing on health and welfare sectors research.

Our focus is on the interface between mental health and child welfare/protection services, and in particular on health and care needs of children at risk.

The risk groups we are focusing on are children of mothers in Opiate Maintenance Treatment (OMT), children entering care, and children already in foster homes.

About the project

The study has three work packages (WPs).

  • In WP 1 we are evaluating models for routine assessment of health and care needs of children entering care. One clinical team for children age 0-6 years started in August 2017, and has so far assessed more than 20 children with a full day assessment. Children are referred when placed out of home, from child welfare services in 5 counties in southern Norway. The inclusion is steadily picking up speed, and we aim to include 100 children in total. We also aim to include 20 children of mothers in OMT from this region. A second team for children aged 7-17 years will start inclusion in January 2018. There will be both a process evaluation and an outcome evaluation for this new service model.
  • WP 2 is a cohort study of youth in foster homes, also from the southern Norway region. Data is already collected online from the young people themselves and their carers. A good response rate has been achieved, and some data have are already been analysed. Two PhD students will be publishing results from these data in the years to come.
  • WP 3 is a study of children of mothers in OMT, where some of them have been followed from birth up until age 10 by now. Added to this sample are new cohorts of older and younger children of mothers in OMT, making up a combined national cohort of children. Mothers have been interviewed by phone and in person, and children tested. A group of normal controls has also been recruited. Also for this sub-study data collection is now complete, and analyses of the data has started. 

Published Feb. 7, 2018 3:13 PM - Last modified Jan. 20, 2022 1:36 PM


Project leader


Postal address

Einar Heiervang
Boks 1039 Blindern
0316 Oslo