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Child custody placement outcomes for mothers


  • Hiilamo, Heikki
  • Saarikallio-Torp, Miia


Internationally there is a broad literature on risks for child custody placements. In contrast, very little is known about their outcomes on parents. The topic is relevant not only for parents themselves but also for children placed outside their homes, as many children keep contact with their birth parents or return to live with them. In a retrospective cohort study setting we analyze child custody placement outcomes (social assistance receipt, unemployment and work disability) for mothers whose children had been taken into custody between 1997 and 2004 in Finland. Data from a child placement register were merged with several administrative social insurance registers. Comparison groups of population mothers are included in the study. The procedure yielded an internationally unique database. According to the results of our study, mothers whose children are taken into custody are more often unemployed and in need of social assistance than mothers in the comparison group. Furthermore, they are also more often on a disability pension, due to mental health problems in particular, than mothers in general. While considering the results, we examine family policy and general welfare policy implications of support to families whose children have been taken into custody.

Suggested Citation

  • Hiilamo, Heikki & Saarikallio-Torp, Miia, 2011. "Child custody placement outcomes for mothers," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(9), pages 1489-1496, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:33:y:2011:i:9:p:1489-1496

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. *Unicef, 2007. "Child Poverty in Perspective: An overview of child well-being in rich countries," Papers inreca07/19, Innocenti Report Card.
    2. Kortenkamp, Katherine & Geen, Rob & Stagner, Matthew, 2004. "The role of welfare and work in predicting foster care reunification rates for children of welfare recipients," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 577-590, June.
    3. Fantuzzo, John & Perlman, Staci, 2007. "The unique impact of out-of-home placement and the mediating effects of child maltreatment and homelessness on early school success," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(7), pages 941-960, July.
    4. Kohl, Patricia L. & Edleson, Jeffrey L. & English, Diana J. & Barth, Richard P., 2005. "Domestic violence and pathways into child welfare services: Findings from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(11), pages 1167-1182, November.
    5. Hiilamo, Heikki, 2009. "What could explain the dramatic rise in out-of-home placement in Finland in the 1990s and early 2000s?," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 177-184, February.
    6. Festinger, Trudy, 1996. "Going home and returning to foster care," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(4-5), pages 383-402.
    7. Stone, Susan, 2007. "Child maltreatment, out-of-home placement and academic vulnerability: A fifteen-year review of evidence and future directions," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 139-161, February.
    8. Berger, Lawrence M., 2004. "Income, family structure, and child maltreatment risk," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(8), pages 725-748, August.
    9. Jones, Loring, 1998. "The social and family correlates of successful reunification of children in foster care," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 305-323, May.
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