Are Children In Foster Care At A Higher Risk For Sexual Abuse?

Police arrested a man who allegedly sexually assaulted girls who were placed under his care through the Texas foster care system. According to reports, the alleged perpetrator took nearly 200 girls between 2005 to 2010.

One foster girl claims regularly joined the accused in his garage where he fixed up old cars because "she wanted to learn." The first rape took place in the garage, and he continued to rape her at least once a week over the next three and a half years. The victim said he never let her shower after he raped her.

Another foster child claims the abuser would offer her cigarettes and extra allowance if she agreed to have sex with him. She recalls an incident in which she refused to have sex with him while they were riding around in his van. He made her drive the vehicle while he had sex with another foster child in the back seat.

According to the investigator, both victims were afraid of being removed from the home and transferred to a new foster home. He believes that the girls seemed to prefer living in an abusive environment to starting over in a new foster home.

Foster placements to the perpetrator's house were stopped in 2013 after sexual abuse allegations were reported according to child protective services. His foster care license, however, was not taken away until 2015.Further investigation revealed that the perpetrator called some of his victims to threaten them that if they report their rapes, his son would kill them. Dallas Franklin, "Officials fear more sexual assault victims after Texas foster parent arrest," kfor.com (Oct. 13, 2017); Alex Zielinski, "Bexar County Man Charged with Sexually Assaulting His Foster Kids for Years," www.sacurrent.com (Oct. 12, 2017).

 


Commentary and Checklist

As of September 30, 2015 (the most recent data available), there were approximately 427,910 children in foster care in this country. Of this total, about 30 percent were in relative homes, and about 45 percent were in non-relative foster family homes.

Children in foster care are vulnerable because of circumstances that have resulted from their removal from their home. The most common reason for removal is child neglect, followed by parental substance abuse. As a result, many of these children have high levels of mental health needs. This makes them especially vulnerable to sex offenders like the perpetrator in the source article.

A study conducted by Johns Hopkins University found that sexual abuse within the foster care system is more than four times as high as in the general population. Additionally, the rate of sexual abuse in group homes is more than 28 times higher compared to the general population.

Victims often experience long-term damage from their abuse. What are some types of long-term damage?

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