The influence of maltreatment history and out-of-home-care on children’s language and social skills Academic Article uri icon


  • This study examined the extent to which maltreatment history and the characteristics of out-of-home care correlated with the language and social skills of maltreated children. Participants in this study were 82 maltreated children aged between 5 and 12 years of age. All children were residing with state-designated carers in out-of-home-care. The children were presented with standardised tests assessing language and social skills. Results showed that the sample performed significantly below the normative mean on both tests. Correlation analyses showed social skills, but not language skills were correlated with aspects of maltreatment history. The education level of the state-designated carer/s was correlated with the children's language skills; higher education level was associated with higher language skills. The study provides evidence that at the group level, language and social skills are poor in maltreated children. However, gains in language skills might be made via the out-of-home-care environment. Improvements in the social skills of maltreated children may require additional support.

publication date

  • 2018