Maltreatment and Allegations of Maltreatment in Foster Care: A review of the evidence

N Biehal, E Parry

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


The abuse of looked after children has been a matter of public concern for over 30 years. However, although there has been considerable attention to maltreatment in residential settings, less is known about maltreatment, including both abuse and neglect, in foster care.

Allegations of maltreatment in foster care are profoundly upsetting for the foster carers concerned and often lead to the removal of children from their care. Unfounded allegations therefore create immense stress for both carers and children. They also have serious consequences for services, as they may lead some carers to give up fostering, thus reducing the already limited supply of foster carers.

In cases where such allegations are substantiated, the implications are even more serious. This review of the research was undertaken in partnership with The Fostering Network and funded by the Nuffield Foundation. It discusses the available evidence on:
* allegations of abuse and neglect by foster carers and
* confirmed maltreatment in foster care.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationUniversity of York, York
PublisherSocial Policy Research Unit, University of York
Number of pages56
ISBN (Print)978-1-907265-05-1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • looked after children
  • social work issues

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