Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 35–49 | Cite as

Pre-foster Care Maltreatment Class as a Predictor of Maltreatment in Foster Care

  • Colleen C. Katz
  • Mark E. Courtney
  • Elizabeth Novotny


The majority of youth in the foster care system have been removed from their homes as means of protection against parental maltreatment. Studies have shown, however, that foster youth may continue to experience maltreatment after they have entered the child welfare system (Poertner et al. in Child Youth Serv Rev 21(7):549–563, 1999; Tittle et al. in Urbana 51:61801, 2008). In this study, we explore how maltreatment prior to foster care entry may predict maltreatment while in care for youth who are preparing to emancipate. Using latent class analysis and multinomial logistic regression, we find that current or former foster youth with histories of multiple maltreatment (particularly, combined pre-foster care histories of neglect and physical abuse) are more likely to report neglect, physical abuse and sexual abuse in care than those with histories of low maltreatment. These youth should be the target of prevention efforts in child welfare agencies.


Foster care Maltreatment in foster care Multiple maltreatment Latent class analysis Abuse Neglect 



This research was made possible by the state child welfare agencies in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the William T. Grant Foundation, the Stuart Foundation, the Walter S. Johnson Foundation, and Casey Family Programs.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Each of the authors declares that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Colleen C. Katz
    • 1
  • Mark E. Courtney
    • 2
  • Elizabeth Novotny
    • 1
  1. 1.Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter CollegeCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.School of Social Service AdministrationUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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