New Findings on Two-Generation Child Protection System (CPS) Involvement: Children with Mothers in Foster Care

The CDN has three new publications on mothers in foster care and their children-all published this month!

The first, Pregnant and Parenting Youth in Care and Their Children: A Literature Review published in the Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, examined pregnant and parenting mothers in foster care and their children by identifying and summarizing all relevant studies published between 2011 and 2017. Combined, these studies demonstrate the need for tailored pregnancy prevention services, supports for parents, and future research that focuses on identifying strategies to improve two-generation outcomes.

The second study was a linked, quantitative analysis that identified children born to mothers in foster care and documented CPS involvement among their children for the first 3 years of life. The study, An Examination Of Child Protective Service Involvement Among Children Born To Mothers In Foster Care published in Child Abuse and Neglect, found that about half of children born to mothers in care were reported for alleged maltreatment by age 3, but that proportion has declined over time (i.e., from 63% of children born to mothers in foster care in 2009, to 46% in 2012). Variation in risk of report also emerged when dyads were grouped using a Latent Class Analysis (LCA). The data identified a number of risk factors available in the mother’s CPS and the child’s birth records that are known at the time of the child’s birth; these factors could be used to develop programs that better fit the needs of mothers in care, assess the effectiveness of these programs, and replicate policies that are improving outcomes for mothers and children.

The third study, A Content Analysis of Case Records: Two-Generations Of Child Protective Services Involvement, was the first to leveraged unstructured, case narrative fields in CPS records to enhance knowledge about children born to mothers in care. A content analysis was conducted to assess reasons described for CPS involvement among children who were born to mothers who were in foster care on or after the estimated date of conception and reported to CPS during the first 3 years of life. Thirteen mother-child dyads from each of the three distinct classes identified in study 2 were selected for a detailed examination of mother and child case records (N=39). Study findings illustrate the importance of linking parents to services that meet their unique needs and those of their children.

These three studies add depth to the understanding of factors associated with the maltreatment of children born to mothers in foster care and demonstrate the importance of two-generation strategies.

For links to the papers and more information, please visit our project page: Child Protective Services (CPS) Involvement among Children of Mothers in Foster Care.

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