Abstract: Safety and Permanency Outcomes for Children Known to CPS for Different Forms of Neglect (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

74P Safety and Permanency Outcomes for Children Known to CPS for Different Forms of Neglect

Thursday, January 16, 2020
Marquis BR Salon 6 (ML 2) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
Chien-jen Chiang, MSW, PhD students, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
Melissa Jonson-Reid, PhD, Professor, Washington University in Saint Louis, University City, MO
Brett Drake, PhD, Professor, Washington University in Saint Louis, MO

Discrepancies regarding the definition of child neglect not only complicates the interpretation of the research findings regarding prevalence, but also potentially pose a challenge in understanding the trajectory of neglected children involved with the child protective services (CPS) system. The CPS system is charged with responding to alleged cases of maltreatment to focus on issues of child safety and permanency outcomes. However, relatively few studies of recurrence break out findings by maltreatment type, and even fewer inform how recurrence may vary within neglect cases as compared to other types of maltreatment. This paper tries to help fill the gap by examining the maltreatment report recurrence and entry into foster care according to the initial type of neglect.


Data for the present study is drawn from two sources. The first one is the National Surveys of Child and Adolescent Well-Being, NSCAW-II (N = 5,787), the second one is a regional longitudinal study (N = 7,303) using linked administrative data records. In NSCAW II, children with investigated reports of maltreatment in 2008 and 2009 were followed through 36 months, and in regional data, baseline reports occurred in 1993-1994 with full follow-up of CPS reports available through September of 2009. Bivariate analysis and bivariate survival curves were used to examine the associations between demographic characteristics, risk factors, subtypes of neglect and outcomes of interest. Logistic regression was used in NSCAW II, and a competing risk model was applied to assess the probability of recurrence and foster care entry outcomes in Regional data.


For both data sets, we didn’t find that cases reported for different types of neglect show significant differences in predicting the recurrence outcome. In NSCAW, families reported for domestic violence related neglect were 4.89 time (OR=4.89, p<.05), 3.89 times (OR=3.89, p<.05), and 5.69 times (OR=5.69, p<.05) less likely to enter the foster care than families reported for physical neglect, supervisory neglect, and prenatal substance abuse. In addition, families reported for substance exposure were 2.14 times (OR=2.14, p<.05) more likely to enter the foster care than families reported for physical abuse. In regional data, families reported for physical neglect were 1.40 times (HR=1.40, p<.05), 1.31 times (HR=1.31, p<.05), and 1.20 times (HR=1.20, p<.05) times more likely to enter foster care than families reported for medical neglect, educational neglect, and supervisory neglect. 

Conclusions and Implications:

Results showed that significant variation between types of neglect and foster care entry. While the greater risk of entry associated with physical neglect, it was surprising that the risk was greater than that for supervisory or medical neglect cases. On the other hand, while there is debate whether exposure to domestic violence as a reportable form of maltreatment, we found children who were reported for domestic violence were less likely to enter foster care than other subtypes of neglect. This study highlights the need to examine the trajectory of children as a function of different forms of neglect to child welfare outcomes, suggesting necessity of addressing the high-risk population in child welfare policy and practice.