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The Placement Trajectories of Youth Served by Child Protection for Sexual Abuse

Abstract

This paper examines the long-term placement trajectories of youth aged 10 to 17 years at initial investigation, with attention to the comparative trajectories of youth served for sexual abuse gender differences, and the mediating effects of behavioral difficulties experienced post investigation. This analysis draws administrative data on all youth served (N = 77,579) by child protection agencies in Quebec for the first time in the last 12 years. Hazard results suggest that youth served for CSA do not enter out-of-home care as quickly as other youth and once in out-of-home care, it takes longer for these youths to reunify with their families. Behavioral problems drive the increased risk of placement for all served youth but play a more influential role for youth served for CSA. Understanding the effects of CSA on youth placed in out-of-home care can help practitioners and program implementers offer more comprehensive and targeted services to improve reunification timelines, and possibly avoid out-of-home placement and placement instability.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Youth served by child protection agencies refers to youth 10-17 years receiving child protection services for reasons of suspected or confirmed abuse, neglect, or severe behavioral difficulties. Child protection services refer to actions that are least disruptive for youth, and may include: 1) offering support services to the youth and family; 2) protecting the youth through placement with relatives, a foster family or specialized residential resources, and; 3) clinical monitoring of the youth’s care.

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Acknowledgments

This study was supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (430-2014-00299) and the Canada Research Chair in Social Services for Vulnerable Children (950-230680) to Tonino Esposito, Principal Investigator.

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Correspondence to Tonino Esposito.

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Tonino Esposito declares no conflict of interest. Ashleigh Delaye declares no conflict of interest. Martin Chabot declares no conflict of interest. Nico Trocmé declares no conflict of interest. Delphine Collin-Vézina declares no conflict of interest. Megan Simpson declares no conflict of interest. The authors of this article declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical Standards and Informed Consent

This article contains secondary analysis of data approved (CÉR CJM-IU: 11/06/003 and CJQ-IU-2011-07) for the purposes of understanding the placement trajectories of children served by child protection in the province of Quebec. This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

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Esposito, T., Delaye, A., Chabot, M. et al. The Placement Trajectories of Youth Served by Child Protection for Sexual Abuse. Journ Child Adol Trauma 10, 63–76 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40653-016-0128-6

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Keywords

  • Child sexual abuse
  • Out-of-home placement
  • Placement instability
  • Family reunification
  • Clinical administrative data
  • Longitudinal analysis