Risks and Consequences of Teenage Childbearing Among Maltreated Female Youth: A Population-Based Examination
The consequences of adolescent childbearing are profound for both mother and child. Infants of adolescent mothers have substantially increased risk of premature birth, low birth weight and neonatal mortality, with the risk of adverse birth outcomes highest among younger mothers. Additionally, research also demonstrates a relationship between adolescent childbearing and an elevated risk that children of teenage mothers will experience maltreatment.
This symposium will present four studies that examine both risks and consequences of adolescent childbearing among female youth in California who have experienced maltreatment and had contact with child protective services (CPS). These studies use population-based data resulting from linkages between CPS and vital birth records. Each of these studies provides a unique contribution to the literature in that previous work has relied on either point-in-time estimates of female youth who are pregnant and parenting, or on surveys of a small, but meaningful, at-risk youth populations receiving community-based services. To date, this is the first project to address such questions at a population-level using linked administrative data.
To establish the dataset from which these four studies were generated, CPS records of children and youth reported for maltreatment or placed in foster care between 1998 and 2010 were linked to maternal information available in vital birth records for births occurring between 2000 and 2010. Linkages were established using a probabilistic linkage software program in which record pairs were deemed a match or nonmatch based on a formal statistical model. Match cut-points were determined through an extensive examination of linked records; a clerical review of pairs falling between the lower and upper cut-point thresholds was used to assign the final match status. A separate set of linkages were similarly conducted in order to identify infants born to adolescent mothers and reported for maltreatment.
The first paper documents the incidence of a history of alleged maltreatment, substantiated victimization, and foster care placement among all teenage mothers. The second paper examines risk factors for giving birth to a first child while in out-of-home care. The third paper examines the maltreatment history of adolescent mothers as an independent predictor of infant birth weight. Finally, the fourth paper provides a population-based examination of intergenerational maltreatment dynamics using official child protection records for both mothers and children.