Saturday, January 15, 2022: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Marquis BR Salon 12, ML 2 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
Cluster: Child Welfare
Rebecca Rebbe, PhD, University of Washington
Richard Barth, PhD, University of Maryland at Baltimore
The COVID-19 pandemic has created far-reaching and unprecedented disruptions to daily life. This has been especially true for children and families as schools and daycares closed in response to the pandemic. Two major concerns have been raised regarding the safety for children during this time. One is that the increased stress on families related to the economic strains and uncertainties of the pandemic has resulted in increased maltreatment behaviors (Herrenkohl et al., 2020; Brown et al., 2020). The second concern is that child maltreatment is going undetected and unreported to child protective services (CPS) agencies due to the in-person closures of school and other social services (Baron et al., 2020). In short, the worry is that child maltreatment has increased during the pandemic while the systems and services in place to respond to child maltreatment have been constrained. Consequently, robust evidence that assesses how COVID-19 has impacted child maltreatment behaviors and responses is needed to investigate whether these concerns are founded. Specific questions include, have there been changes in the risk of child maltreatment and how have CPS systems changed in the wake of the pandemic?
The purpose of this symposium is to disseminate findings from three innovative studies examining the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on child maltreatment and CPS outcomes across different jurisdictions. The first paper is a statewide study that assessed trends in CPS reports, investigation findings, and out-of-home placements before and after the pandemic. The second paper investigated changes in the risk scores of the children reported to CPS during the pandemic compared to children reported to CPS prior to the pandemic in two different jurisdictions. The third paper examined statewide trends in CPS reports with allegations of domestic violence before and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Together, these papers examine how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted child maltreatment risk, the count and composition of CPS reports, and CPS system responses providing new knowledge of how this global public health crisis has impacted child maltreatment. These findings provide new insights regarding child maltreatment risk and child protection system responses using population-based data. A discussant, an expert in the field, will summarize and offer commentary on the major findings, as well as policy and practice implications at the micro- and macro-levels.
* noted as presenting author