In the current study, we sought to examine two critical yet unexplored issues using population-based birth records linked to infant CPS data for all Latino children born in California between 2000 and 2006. Latino infants were followed from birth through age 1 to determine: (1) whether maternal foreign-born status conferred a consistent protective advantage against reported and substantiated maltreatment risks across Hispanic-origin groups, and (2) whether the likelihood an infant was reported or substantiated for maltreatment varied by Hispanic origin, both before and after adjusting for health and socioeconomic indicators associated with CPS-involvement.
We drew data for all Latino infants born in California between 2000 and 2006 (N=1,909,155) from population-based birth records linked to child protective services (CPS) data. We used χ2 tests to assess distributional differences in covariates and utilized generalized linear models to estimate the adjusted relative risk of report and substantiation in models stratified by nativity.
Significant health advantages in reported and substantiated maltreatment for infants of foreign-born mothers emerged within every Hispanic-origin group. Risks of report and substantiation among infants of Mexican and Central/South American mothers were consistently lower than Puerto Rican and Cuban mothers despite socioeconomic disadvantage.
The presence of disparities among Hispanic-origin groups in child maltreatment report and substantiation during infancy has implications for the health of Latinos across the life course. Further research is warranted to unravel the complex processes underlying observed relationships.