Safeguarding young people in care

background and framework


Over the last decade, many (European) countries have created special committees or conducted special investigations into the occurrence of sexual abuse in residential and/or foster care. Many of these studies concluded that children and young people in care are at a greater risk of being sexually abused, compared to youth growing up at home. However, the extent and scope of sexual abuse which has historically occurred in residential and/or foster care remains contested and is highly controversial. Although a broad range of factors are involved, one issue that is of crucial importance in the prevention of sexual abuse is paying attention to the healthy sexual development of children and young people in care. This sounds easy, but it isn’t easy at all. Ideas about relationships, intimacy and healthy sexual development differ between people and countries. It’s a sensitive subject that many professionals working in care find difficult to talk about. As most professionals working in care in Europe graduate from schools of Social Work, social work education should prepare (future) professionals to address this issue. Although some authors have addressed this issue, in general, social work education does not pay sufficient attention to the subject. This project aims to help (future) professionals build competencies on this specific subject by providing the following products:<br/>1. An international summer school on the subject of sex and sexuality, for social work students.<br/>2. An online course on the subject of sex and sexuality for professionals working in residential care or working with foster parents.<br/>3. A website with materials for European lecturers who teach future social workers on the subject of sex and sexuality.<br/>4. A reflection instrument as a tool for on-the-job training on the subject.<br/>These products are based on a set of practice based core competencies that professionals should develop in order to be able to provide care and upbringing on the theme of sex and sexuality. Next to that five central themes were used to order the development of modules.

Reference Boendermaker, L., Kendrick, A., & Hoing, M. (2018). Safeguarding young people in care: background and framework. Safeguarding Young People in Care.
1 August 2018

Publication date

Aug 2018


Andrew Kendrick
Mechtild Hoing


Research database