School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Courtney Evans-Thompson


attachment theory, survival sex, online sex, kinship care placement abuse, child abuse


Social and Behavioral Sciences


This study investigated the relationship between lack of early attachment with a primary caregiver and survival sex employment in aged-out kinship care youth. Literature has shown that multiple situations have occurred to AFCY. While in kinship care, youth may have experienced physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, inappropriate discipline, and exposure to domestic violence, homicide, and pornography. Of the estimated 250,000 children who exited kinship care in 2018, 49% were reunited with their natural parent or primary caretaker, 25% were adopted, 11% went to live with a guardian, 7% were aged out, 7% went to live with another relative, and 1% had other living arrangements (United States Department of Health and Human Services, 2019a). Prompt and effective parental sensitivity to a child’s signals was an integral part of attachment security. An early attachment pattern between the child and caregiver was essential for effective regulation. When children lack early attachment, they seek out someone who will love, accept, and understand them. Aged-out kinship care youth used survival sex and online sex as employment to endure their newfound independent life.