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Are economic trends associated with child maltreatment? Preliminary results from the recent recession using state level data

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  • Millett, Lina
  • Lanier, Paul
  • Drake, Brett

Abstract

The objective of this study is to investigate the effects of the recent economic recession on child maltreatment rates. Specifically, we examine whether unemployment rates, labor force participation, and food stamp usage are associated with aggregate rates of child abuse and neglect (CAN) rates using state-level data. Theory and prior empirical evidence supports the relationship between family and neighborhood poverty and incidence of child maltreatment; however, the relationship between general economic environment and CAN remains unclear. The study uses a multiple case study design at the state level, analyzing administrative child maltreatment and economic data for seven U.S. states. Aggregate numbers for child maltreatment reports and food stamp usage were obtained from state respective agencies and economic data for unemployment and labor force from the Current Population Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Empirical growth plots and OLS regression were used to examine changes in maltreatment and utilization of economic variables as predictors over time. Bivariate correlations and OLS regression results show a weak and inconsistent relationship between the economic indicators in this study and maltreatment rates. Several possible reasons accounting for these results are explored.

Suggested Citation

  • Millett, Lina & Lanier, Paul & Drake, Brett, 2011. "Are economic trends associated with child maltreatment? Preliminary results from the recent recession using state level data," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(7), pages 1280-1287, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:33:y:2011:i:7:p:1280-1287
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    11. Slack, Kristen S. & Berger, Lawrence M. & Noyes, Jennifer L., 2017. "Introduction to the special issue on the economic causes and consequences of child maltreatment," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 1-4.
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    13. Crea, Thomas M. & Crampton, David S., 2011. "The context of program implementation and evaluation: A pilot study of interorganizational differences to improve child welfare reform efforts," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(11), pages 2273-2281.
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