Child maltreatment in adoptive and consanguineous families: Results from a national sample of child welfare investigations

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Wesley, Michelle

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University of Guelph


This study investigates the characteristics of two-parent adoptive and consanguineous families in a representative sample of Canadian child welfare investigations. Adoptive caregivers were significantly older, and had higher reported levels of income and education. Both families had similar rates of caregiver problems. Adoptees were older, more likely to exhibit internalizing and externalizing problems, and had a greater number of overall functioning difficulties. After controlling for social class, adoptees had higher rates of special needs and internalizing problems, but externalizing problems were not different across family types. No differences were found for maltreatment type and level of substantiation. Compared to children raised in consanguineous households, adoptees experienced significantly higher rates of maltreatment at the hands of individuals other than their adoptive parents. The results confirm previous studies of adoptive families and emphasize the importance of considering social class differences when comparing adoptees to non-adopted peers.



maltreatment, two-parent adoptive families, consanguineous families, Canadian, child welfare, investigation