Sexual Abuse of Young Children in Foster Care

Faithful reader of The Adoption Diaries, reader Amy was absolutely horrified by this post we ran last month about a new foster-adoptive single father who not only raped his three new adopted children (ages 9 – 13 boys and girls), but he prostituted the kids out to his friends as well. This article made many of you physically ill. Me too.

So Amy then did more digging for me on credible instances where older children in an adoptive (or foster) family do abuse the younger children in the home, whether those younger children are, in fact,  biological children or other, younger foster kids.

Amy said she found a research paper from 2003 about how up to half of all child abuse in foster care situations is performed by older kids who’ve seen far too much trouble in foster care. She said, “Up to 50 percent of those who sexually abuse children are under the age of 18 themselves.”

– Hunter, J.A., Figueredo, A., Malamuth, N.M., & Becker, J.V. (2003). Juvenile sex offenders: Toward the Development of a typology. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, (2003) Volume 15, No. 1.

When the Sexual Predator is Another Child

It is terrible that sex abuse at home occurred when an older new foster brother (a teenager) was brought into the foster parents home and he ended up sexually molesting their 9-year-old. Ugh. While it is commendable that a family would foster a 17-year-old male who lives with younger children (boys or girls), it raises questions too.

Amy said to me, “I have to wonder what they were thinking.  And, what was the private adoption agency thinking? Did they not know that a 9-year-old biological daughter was in that house?

This happens not only with a non-family foster placement, but also with bio-related children being placed with family members who have young children.  The most recent case I heard was of a 7 -year-old sexually assaulting his 5-year-old cousin.

Amy said, “I think that in the foster care system,  any foster parent, whether bio-related or not, should have an idea of the history of the child being placed and the potential risk. Some children should simply not be placed in a house with other children. And I think you need to be just as wary about older children who can gain access to children via the parents running an in-home daycare.”

Ditto, Amy, thanks for sharing on The Adoption Diaries. Does anyone know a great story about a healthy mixing of bio kids and foster children? I’d love to hear it!

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