Insights into the Influences of Poverty on Child Maltreatment

Social Work Professors Kristen Slack and Lonnie Berger, along with their colleague Jennifer Noyes, are the editors of a special issue of Children and Youth Services Review bringing together research that addresses the role of income and material resources on child maltreatment behaviors and involvement in the child protection system. The papers were originally presented at a workshop hosted by the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Institute for Research on Poverty on the "Economic Causes and Consequences of Child Maltreatment.”


For decades, researchers have established a strong link between poverty and child maltreatment, but the set of studies published in this special issues is the first to address the other half of the battle – the causal mechanisms behind the economic factors that are strongly associated with child maltreatment, either as a risk factor or an outcome. As Professor Slack notes, "When people think about child abuse and neglect, they tend to focus only on deficiencies in parenting behaviors, and not a broader set of stressors that can create or exacerbate risk for children. Poverty and economic hardship need to be systematically considered in our efforts to prevent maltreatment or lessen its consequences. For some families, economic support can make a meaningful difference in whether children experience harm.”


Among other findings the studies indicate that public policies that assist families through greater economic support have the potential to both reduce child maltreatment and promote family reunification when children are placed in foster care.


The entire journal issue is available without a subscription at the following web address:

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Last edited by jmlee29 on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 | Printer Friendly Version