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Parental nativity and the decision to substantiate: Findings from a study of Latino children in the second National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being (NSCAW II)

Listed author(s):
  • Johnson-Motoyama, Michelle
  • Dettlaff, Alan J.
  • Finno, Megan
Registered author(s):

    Understanding the extent to which disparities exist at specific decision points within the child welfare system is essential to addressing disproportionality if and where it exists. Over the past decade, several studies have examined substantiation rates of alleged child maltreatment reports among the major racial/ethnic groups in the U.S. However, Latinos have typically been treated as a monolithic group with comparisons limited to children of other races due to limitations inherent to child welfare administrative data. The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence, characteristics, and risk factors of Latino children who come to the attention of the child welfare system by parental nativity subgroup, and to examine the relationship of parental nativity to substantiation in the U.S. Latino child welfare population. The sample included children of Hispanic background who participated the second National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being (NSCAW II) for whom information regarding parental nativity was available for at least one biological parent (n=713). In the final logistic regression model, mixed nativity families had significantly lower odds of substantiation (OR .44) when compared to U.S. born families. Odds of substantiation were significantly higher in families without a supportive secondary caregiver (OR 2.66). Allegations made by professionals (OR 6.15) and “other” report sources (OR 4.52) had significantly higher odds of substantiation when compared to reports made by caregivers, relatives, or neighbors. Each unit increase in caseworker-assessed risk to the child (OR 1.95) and sufficiency of evidence to substantiate the case (OR 3.17) increased the odds of substantiation. The lower odds of substantiation among maltreatment reports made regarding children in mixed nativity families when compared to those of U.S. born families may partly relate to the strengths observed among mixed nativity families, including a lower prevalence of material hardship and active alcohol and drug abuse. Immigrant families demonstrated some of these same strengths; however, a higher prevalence of discipline considered inappropriate or excessive was also observed within this subgroup. Implications for culturally relevant child welfare practice with diverse Latino families are discussed.

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

    Volume (Year): 34 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 11 ()
    Pages: 2229-2239

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:34:y:2012:i:11:p:2229-2239
    DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2012.07.017
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    1. Lu, Yuhwa Eva & Landsverk, John & Ellis-Macleod, Elissa & Newton, Rae & Ganger, William & Johnson, Ivory, 2004. "Race, ethnicity, and case outcomes in child protective services," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 447-461, May.
    2. Church II, Wesley T. & Gross, Emma R. & Baldwin, Joshua, 2005. "Maybe ignorance is not always bliss: The disparate treatment of Hispanics within the child welfare system," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(12), pages 1279-1292, December.
    3. Dettlaff, Alan J. & Johnson, Michelle A., 2011. "Child maltreatment dynamics among immigrant and U.S. born Latino children: Findings from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being (NSCAW)," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 936-944, June.
    4. Zuravin, Susan J. & Orme, John G. & Hegar, Rebecca L., 1995. "Disposition of child physical abuse reports: Review of the literature and test of a predictive model," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 547-566.
    5. Dettlaff, Alan J. & Earner, Ilze & Phillips, Susan D., 2009. "Latino children of immigrants in the child welfare system: Prevalence, characteristics, and risk," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 775-783, July.
    6. Ayón, Cecilia, 2009. "Shorter time-lines, yet higher hurdles: Mexican families' access to child welfare mandated services," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 609-616, June.
    7. Fluke, John D. & Yuan, Ying-Ying T. & Hedderson, John & Curtis, Patrick A., 2003. "Disproportionate representation of race and ethnicity in child maltreatment: investigation and victimization," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(5-6), pages 359-373.
    8. English, Diana J. & Marshall, David B. & Coghlan, Laura & Brummel, Sherry & Orme, Matthew, 2002. "Causes and Consequences of the Substantiation Decision in Washington State Child Protective Services," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(11), pages 817-851, November.
    9. Dettlaff, Alan J. & Rivaux, Stephanie L. & Baumann, Donald J. & Fluke, John D. & Rycraft, Joan R. & James, Joyce, 2011. "Disentangling substantiation: The influence of race, income, and risk on the substantiation decision in child welfare," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(9), pages 1630-1637, September.
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