Previously Adopted Children in Care: Maltreatment and The System
Abstract: Maltreatment by biological parents is the primary reason children
are re-moved from their parents' homes and placed in foster or adoptive homes. These foster
and adoptive homes are meant to provide compensatory protective experiences for maltreated
children. However, some children in these purportedly safer adoptive and foster homes
experience additional maltreatment, often at the ha... read morends of their adoptive or foster parents.
Some of these children will be removed from their adoptive homes due to this maltreatment
experience, and others may have their adoptions disrupted or dissolved voluntarily by their
adoptive parents. Un-fortunately, there are no scholarly studies on the rates and
correlates of maltreatment in adoptive homes, nor do we have a good understanding of who
the children are and what happens to the children who return to state care from adoptive
homes. This dissertation involved combining three nationally representative datasets
(AFCARS Adoption File, AFCARS Foster Care File, NCANDS Child File in 2009) to examine the
experiences of children who had previous adoptions and returned to foster care and have
experienced maltreatment in their adoptive homes or other placement settings. Using six
different latent class analysis models, I assessed the importance of substantiation of
reports by comparing victim and nonvictim reports, and I also examined the nature and the
frequency of reports of maltreatment. I analyzed the child, family and system correlates of
maltreatment experience, allowing for stronger, evidence-based recommendations for policy
to prevent child maltreatment in adoptive homes. Results indicated that many previously
adopted children were removed from their homes without having experienced substantiated
maltreatment, and that certain child, family and service indicators predicted whether
children were grouped in either the No-Low or Complex Maltreatment classes. Study findings
are discussed and future research, policy, and practice recommendations are
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2017.
Submitted to the Dept. of Child Development.
Advisor: Ellen Pinderhughes.
Committee: Mary Casey, Ruth McRoy, and Sara Johnson.
Keywords: Developmental psychology, and Social work.read less