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Early care and education arrangements and young children's risk of foster placement: Findings from a national child welfare sample

The study reported here builds on the existing literature that suggests that ECE may help the U.S. CWS achieve its objective of reducing child abuse and neglect by exploring ECE's relationship to the system's related objective of reducing unnecessary foster placements. The two studies linking child care subsidies to fewer foster care removals only consider the subset of ECE arrangements funded through government subvention (Lipscomb, Lewis, Masyn, & Meloy, 2012; Meloy, Lipscomb, & Baron, 2015); thus, they overlook the relationship between CWS-involved families' participation in free ECE programs like Head Start and Early Head Start (which frequently prioritize CWS-supervised children for enrollment) as well as privately paid ECE. Furthermore, the current study makes use of a nationally representative sample of children reported to CWS, and so its results are more broadly generalizable. The current study also measures ECE participation in more specific ways than child welfare researchers have previously, taking into account not only whether or not a child received regular ECE services, but also the type of services received (Head Start, other center- or home-based ECE, family/friend/relative care, other ECE, or multiple types of ECE). This paper explores two research questions with respect to children under age five reported to the U.S. CWS for suspected maltreatment: (a) Are those who receive ECE services less likely to be placed in foster care? and (b) Does the type of ECE arrangement that they use affect their likelihood of placement in foster care? (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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