One-third of foster kids returned to their family are abused again

One in three children who have been reunified with their families after being placed in foster care will be maltreated again, according to a study into Quebec’s youth protection system by Marie-Andrée Poirier and Sonia Hélie of the University of Montreal’s School of Social Services. The study, the first of its kind in the world, was undertaken in the wake of a new law intended to improve the family stability of youth receiving child protection services.

The researchers, who are also affiliated with the Centre jeunesse de Montréal-Institut universitaire, looked at data collated in 2008 and 2009 by the province’s 16 youth protection centres to identify why children were re-entering the system after having already been placed in a foster family, returned to their biological family, and had their case closed. In all, Poirier and Hélie were looking at what happened in the lives of 4,120 minors, between the ages of 0 and 17, during the five years following the closing of their initial episode of services.

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