A deeper look at out-of-home careDec. 15, 2020, 8:00 AM
by Bill Snyder
Higher levels of poverty, single-parent households and unemployment, lower education levels and lack of health insurance are well-established, community-level risk factors associated with children being placed in out-of-home care.
Previous studies have been limited by sample size and by the broad geographic areas they encompassed, however.
In a paper published in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect, Sarah Lotspeich, PhD, Rameela Raman, PhD, and colleagues studied 33,890 instances of child welfare agency involvement between 2011 and 2018 in a single state.
By linking administrative data to census data via geocoding, they were able to identify risk factors for children under 19 being placed in out-of-home care, raising the possibility that prevention efforts can be geographically targeted.
“An improved understanding of the landscape leading up to a child being placed in out-of-home care may help identify avenues for prevention,” the authors noted. “This (study) stands as a promising approach to capture cases as well as identify risk factors that can help inform policy.”