Caregivers of Victimized Children: Differences Between Biological Parents and Foster Caregivers

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Caregivers of children who have been sexually abused often find the experience challenging, especially when the child begins to act out in the home. Many children who have engaged in sexually aggressive, sexually inappropriate, or coercive behaviors with other children are placed in foster care. The purpose of this article is to describe the characteristics of biological parents and their significant others and foster caregivers of sexually aggressive and abusive children. A descriptive, exploratory study was conducted involving 3,149 caregivers (1,764 of them foster caregivers) of more than 800 youth ages 3 to 20. Findings suggest that while the foster caregivers were a more stable group than the biological parents and their significant others, the children experienced significantly high levels of instability in foster care placement. Provision of emotional and psychosocial support, coupled with education and periodic health evaluations, for the foster caregivers may be focal points of interventions. Nurses are in an ideal position to provide positive health promotion strategies and life-style choices for both foster caregivers and the children.

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