No one wants to imagine the likelihood of a child experiencing abuse in their foster home, especially if the child has moved from home to home in the foster care system. However, it is a reality for many children.
It begs the question of how community members, teachers and loved ones identify the signs of neglect or abuse among foster children and what is the appropriate next action to take.
How to spot signs of different types of abuse
Unfortunately, there are multiple types of abuse that victims suffer from including physical abuse, sexual abuse, maltreatment and neglect. While different types of abuse manifest different symptoms, there are common signs to look out for, such as:
- Visual injuries on both sides of the body
- Aggressive, destructive or disruptive behavior
- Passive or withdrawn
- Fear of going home
- Overly, sexually suggestive or promiscuous
- Expression of age-inappropriate sexual knowledge
- Sexual verbalization to or victimization of other children
- Obivous malnourishment or fatigue
- Untreated need for medical care
- Frequent tardiness or absence from school
- Lack of personal care including poor hygiene
- New fears
And while these signs are helpful for spotting abuse, it is critical that you take action when you notice multiple signs in one child. If you suspect neglect or any other form of abuse, you may contact Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453. It’s toll-free and offers confidentiality for any callers.
If there is an immediate need for intervention, call your local police department. Do not wait or contact the foster parents. Allow law enforcement to take action and remove the child if it’s necessary.