National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW), 1997-2014 and 2015-2022

Project Overview

The National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) is a nationally representative, longitudinal survey of children and families who have been the subjects of investigation by Child Protective Services. There have been two cohorts of children enrolled in the survey, which makes available data drawn from first-hand reports from children, parents, and other caregivers, as well as reports from caseworkers, teachers, and data from administrative records. NSCAW examines child and family well-being outcomes in detail and seeks to relate those outcomes to experience with the child welfare system and to family characteristics, community environment, and other factors. In September 2015, the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation in collaboration with the Children’s Bureau awarded a contract to RTI International to carry out the third cohort of NSCAW (NSCAW III). An overarching goal of NSCAW III is to maintain the strengths of previous work, while: 1) better positioning the study to address the changing child welfare population, and 2) increasing the project’s overall utility.

The point of contact is Christine Fortunato.

  • NSCAW, No. 21: Disconnected Youth Involved in Child Welfare

    Published: October 28, 2014

    This is the 21st in a series of National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) briefs focused on children who have come in contact with the child welfare system. This brief looks specifically at a subgroup of youth who have been identified as disconnected youth, defined here as 16- to 24-year-olds who are not in school and not employed three years after being reported as a victim of child maltreatment.  The brief reviews characteristics of youth identified as disconnected, along...

  • NSCAW Child Well-Being Spotlight: Mothers of Children Reported for Maltreatment Show Small Decline in Domestic Violence, but No Improvement in Service Access

    Published: July 8, 2014

    This National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) spotlight reports that there has been a small decline in domestic violence reported by mothers of children across the two NSCAW cohorts (28.9% in NSCAW I, vs. 24.7% in NSCAW II), but no change in service access (about 15% of mothers in both cohorts received domestic violence services)...

  • NSCAW Child Well-Being Spotlight: Teenage Girls in the Child Welfare System Report High Rates of Risky Sexual Activity and Pregnancy

    Published: July 8, 2014

    This National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) spotlight describes the high rates of risky sexual activity and pregnancy among teenage girls in the second cohort of NSCAW (NSCAW II).  According to data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW), 16.8% of girls ages 14-17, and 45.1% of girls ages 18-20, had experienced at least one pregnancy...

  • NSCAW II Wave 3 Report: Wave 3 Tables

    Published: June 27, 2014

    The National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) is a nationally representative, longitudinal survey of children who were the subjects of child maltreatment investigation.  At Wave 3, 36 months after the maltreatment report that brought them into the study, the children were 2-20 years old.  These Wave 3 tables provide descriptive information about the children’s characteristics and functioning, their service needs and service utilization, and their...

  • NSCAW, No. 19: Risk of Long-term Foster Care Report

    Published: September 17, 2013

    After children spend 12 to 18 continuous months in foster care, their chances of leaving foster care decrease rapidly, and once children spend 36 to 42 continuous months in foster care, their chances of leaving foster care are extremely low. These were findings from the analysis of several years of data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) to examine the risk of remaining in long-term foster care.  The research brief focuses on the following questions...

  • National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW II) Wave 2 Child Permanency Report

    Published: August 27, 2013

    Within 18 months after the close of a Child Protective Services investigation, 22.3% of a nationally representative sample were placed out of home, according to this report, which summarizes permanency outcomes for children at Wave 2 of NSCAW II.  NSCAW II is a longitudinal study intended to answer a range of fundamental questions about the functioning, service needs, and service use of children who come in contact with the child welfare system. The study examines the well-being of...

  • National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW), No. 20: Adverse Child Experiences in NSCAW

    Published: August 8, 2013

    More than half of the children in the NSCAW II sample report four or more adverse childhood experiences.  This finding is from a brief that uses the second cohort of the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW II) to examine rates of adverse childhood experiences among children who have been reported for maltreatment to the child welfare system.  It also compares this sample’s adverse experiences to those reported in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control...

  • NSCAW II Wave 2 Report: Child Safety

    Published: March 20, 2013

    About one fifth of children are reported for maltreatment again within 18 months of an investigation by child...

  • NSCAW II Wave 2 Report: Children and Families who Receive Child Welfare Services

    Published: March 20, 2013

    About half of children and families received child welfare services during 18 months following a child protective...

  • NSCAW Child Well-Being Spotlight: More than One Quarter of Children Placed Out of Home Experience Placement Disruption in the First 18 Months After a Maltreatment Investigation

    Published: March 4, 2013

    According to data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW), 22.3% of children in families...

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