IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

The early home environment and developmental outcomes for young children in the child welfare system

Listed author(s):
  • Harden, Brenda Jones
  • Whittaker, Jessica Vick
Registered author(s):

    The quality of the early home environment is predictive of young children's subsequent cognitive, academic, and behavioral functioning. Limited research has focused on the effects of the early caregiving environment on the functioning of young children involved with the child welfare system. This study investigated the influence of children's home environments (i.e., number of children in the home, number of moves the child experienced, level of cognitive stimulation, and level of emotional support) during the first 2Â years of life on their preschool developmental outcomes (i.e., cognition, language, social skills, and behavior problems). As anticipated, a high-quality early home environment promoted the well-being of preschool children who had entered the child welfare system as infants. Children who lived with greater numbers of children incurred more compromised cognitive, language, behavioral, and social outcomes. No significant associations emerged between the total number of placements and developmental outcomes; children who remained in the same home during infancy (typically the birth family home) had more compromised developmental outcomes in every domain except behavioral problems. Both cognitive stimulation and emotional support in the home predicted higher cognitive and language scores, decreased behavioral problems, and increased social skills. Early out-of-home placement and lack of emotional support interacted to predict children's behavioral problems. These findings are considered in the context of extant research and policy relevant to young children in the child welfare system.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Children and Youth Services Review.

    Volume (Year): 33 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 8 (August)
    Pages: 1392-1403

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:33:y:2011:i:8:p:1392-1403
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. Ryan, Joseph P. & Testa, Mark F., 2005. "Child maltreatment and juvenile delinquency: Investigating the role of placement and placement instability," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 227-249, March.
    2. Staff, Ilene & Fein, Edith, 1995. "Stability and change: Initial findings in a study of treatment foster care placements," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 379-389.
    3. Fuller, Tamara L., 2005. "Child safety at reunification: A case-control study of maltreatment recurrence following return home from substitute care," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(12), pages 1293-1306, December.
    4. Barth, Richard P. & Weigensberg, Elizabeth C. & Fisher, Philip A. & Fetrow, Becky & Green, Rebecca L., 2008. "Reentry of elementary aged children following reunification from foster care," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 353-364, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:33:y:2011:i:8:p:1392-1403. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.