Objectives: The purpose of this study is to identify the experiences of children who have been substantiated as victims of child maltreatment abuse within the child protection system and to examine how the rights of children are being properly observed.
Methods: Focus group interviews were conducted for 19 children and adults who had experience of the out-of-home placement of the child protection system due to child maltreatment. The contents of the interviews were analyzed through qualitative research analytic methods.
Results: Eleven themes corresponding to five categories of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child were derived from the analytic results of the interviews. The results of the analysis regarding how the rights of abused children are properly observed within the child protection system are as follows. First, sufficient supports for food, clothing, shelter, and education were provided. However, children did not have the opportunity to express their thoughts and concerns during the decisionn making processes within the child protection system. Second, the children experienced recurrence of child maltreatment or violence exposure among peers in out-of-home placements. Third, the children did not receive adequate support services for family reunification or independent living before aging out of the system. Forth, due to the rules of foster care, the freedom to contact family members and friends outside the system and the freedom to choose their leisure activities were limited.
Conclusions: Analytic results showed that the children s rights were not properly observed in the child protection system. Based on these findings, the child protection system should consider childrens’ intentions and thoughts during the decision-making processes. Implications of study findings and suggestions for future research were discussed.