Out of home placement to promote safety? The prevalence of physical abuse in residential and foster care.

S. Euser, L.R.A. Alink, A. Tharner, M.H. van IJzendoorn, M.J. Bakermans-Kranenburg

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Out-of-home placement may not always protect children against violence or maltreatment. We investigated the prevalence rates of physical abuse of adolescents in different types of out-of-home care, and compared these with the prevalence of physical abuse in the general population, using findings from the Netherlands' Prevalence study of Maltreatment of children and youth (NPM-2010; Alink et al., 2011). Adolescents (N= 329) between 12 and 17. years of age living in residential and foster care reported on their experiences with physical abuse during the year 2010. Twenty-five percent of all participating adolescents experienced physical abuse, which is a nearly three-fold increase in risk compared to the general population. Prevalence rates in residential care, especially in secure care, were significantly higher than in foster care. However, the prevalence of physical abuse in juvenile detention did not differ from either foster care or the general population. Boys reported more physical abuse in out-of-home care than girls. Age, ethnicity, and education did not affect the prevalence of physical abuse. The current findings indicate that children in out-of-home care, and especially in residential care, are not well protected against violence or maltreatment. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-70
Number of pages7
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Issue number37
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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