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Studies on Child Maltreatment, Child Development and Public Policies
The School of Social Work's major researchers in the area of child maltreatment, child development, and public policies include Lawrence (Lonnie) Berger, Maria Cancian, Katherine Magnuson, and Kristen (Kristi) Slack. See current studies in progress below.
Child Maltreatment, Child Development, Public Policies, and Parental Addiction
(P.I. Lawrence Berger): Past research has documented that a large proportion of children whose parents are investigated for child abuse or neglect, and the majority of children removed from their homes due to child abuse or neglect, have parents with substance abuse problems. Furthermore, little is known about how to most effectively intervene with substance abusing parents in the context of the child welfare system. This research is using data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Wellbeing, in combination with state-level policy data, to explore associations between parental substance abuse, state child welfare policies, child development, child welfare case outcomes, and child maltreatment sequelae. This research can assist policy makers in making informed decisions and developing effective public policies for meeting the needs of abused and neglected children with substance abusing parents.
The Impact of Child Support Pass-Throughs on Child Maltreatment Prevention
(P.I. Maria Cancian): The Wisconsin Child Support Demonstration Evaluation (CSDE) involved a full pass-through of child support dollars, collected by the state, to recipients of TANF in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The experimental design affords a test of whether income, in and of itself, affects rates of child maltreatment.
The Impact of Milwaukee New Hope on Child Maltreatment Prevention
(P.I. Katherine Magnuson): The Milwaukee New Hope Program involved an experimental evaluation of the impact of income supplements for working, low-income parents on parent, child and family well-being. The New Hope data is currently being reevaluated to assess whether the intervention affected rates of involvement with the child protective services system. The implications of this research can shed light on the intersections of anti-poverty policy and child maltreatment prevention.
Preventing Child Maltreatment with Economic Supports
(Co-P.I.s Kristen Slack and Lawrence Berger): The Milwaukee Community Response Pilot is designed to target families referred to child protective services, whose cases are closed after an initial assessment determines that there are no child safety issues. These families have historically been shown to have concerning rates of re-reports to child protective services, yet they have not been the focus of systematic program interventions. The pilot research uses an experimental design to test whether an income support intervention (i.e., emergency assistance funding coupled with advocacy and assistance with accessing a broad array of public and private benefits) reduces rates of re-reports to child protective services within this target population.