NSCAW II Child Well-Being Spotlight: Children Placed Outside the Home and Children Who Remain In-Home after a Maltreatment Investigation Have Similar and Extensive Service Needs

Publication Date: May 9, 2012


According to the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW), children placed in out-of-home care (such as foster care or kinship care) and children who remain in-home shortly after a report of child abuse or neglect have similar and extensive service needs. Following a child abuse or neglect investigation, the child welfare system determines: (1) whether a child should remain in-home or be placed in out-of-home care, and/or (2) if the child and/or family should receive supportive services (such as having an assigned caseworker or receiving reunification services). Children perceived to have continued threats to safety or to need resources to prevent future risk are more likely to be removed from the home or to remain in-home and be connected with child welfare services. NSCAW data suggest that children reported for maltreatment have a high risk of experiencing developmental problems, cognitive problems, behavioral/emotional problems, or substance use disorders, regardless of whether they were placed in out-of-home care, remained in-home with receipt of services, or remained in-home without services. Only one significant difference in risk of develop-mental, cognitive, behavioral/emotional, or substance use problems was identified. Very young children (ages 0 to 5 years old) placed out of home were more likely to have developmental problems than children who remained in-home and did not receive services. NSCAW data suggest the need for adequate well-being screening and supportive service referrals for all children who come into contact with the child welfare system. Many children who could benefit from supportive services may not be receiving them.

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