Work, Welfare, and Child Maltreatment
We examine how child maltreatmentincluding neglect, physical and sexual abuse, and other forms of maltreatmentis affected by parental economic circumstances. Using state-level panel data on cases of maltreatment and numbers of children in foster care, we find that increases in the fractions of children with absent fathers and working mothers in a state are related to increases in many measures of maltreatment, as are increases in the share of families with two nonworking parents and those with incomes below 75% of the poverty line. Decreases in state welfare benefit levels are associated with increases in foster care placement.
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