Maltreatment in foster care: a review of the evidence

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This article examines the evidence on maltreatment in foster care, drawing on a critical review of research published in the USA, the UK and Australia. Few studies have reported on the extent of maltreatment in this setting and the evidence that does exist is inconclusive. The limited available evidence suggests that maltreatment may be reported for up to two per cent of children in foster care in any one year, but much depends on the definitions used and on local variation in thresholds for investigation. The article discusses the perpetrators and nature of this maltreatment and problems with substantiation, and highlights important gaps in the existing research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-60
JournalChild Abuse Review
Early online date28 Feb 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Maltreatment
  • foster care
  • abuse
  • looked after children
  • social work

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