Evidence Abuse in foster care: a review of the research

Abuse in foster care: a review of the research

Authors: Biehal, N. and Grant, M.

Professor Nina Biehal (Emeritus Professor of Social Work, University of York) and Doctor Maggie Grant (Research Associate, AFA Scotland and University of Stirling) wrote a report for the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry reviewing the UK and international evidence to provide a comprehensive account of the research on maltreatment in foster care. The Report finds that few official inquiries and reviews have referred specifically to foster care, and that few studies have investigated the question of maltreatment in foster care in Scotland. This remains the case, despite frequent acknowledgement of the need for a greater focus on foster care as distinct from other care arrangements. The authors argue that research considering the risk and protective factors for abuse in the Scottish fostering system, taking account of the specific policy and legal landscape in Scotland, is required. The authors also note that children’s voices were absent from the majority of the studies they identified, and emphasise the need for qualitative research that sensitively explores the experiences of children and young people in foster care, and care-experienced adults who were in foster placements.

Evidence details

Evidence date:



Biehal, N. , Grant, M.

Evidence type:

Research Reports