Association of caregiver social support with the safety, permanency, and well-being of children in child welfare

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Children and Youth Services Review, 48, 150-158

Focusing on families having contact with the child welfare system, this study aims to assess whether caregiver social support is associated with the three primary child welfare goals: child safety, permanency and well-being. The study uses a national probability sample of children having contact with the child welfare system and a prospective study design. It includes both caregiver and caseworker indicators of social support. Consistent with previous research, study results suggest that different indicators of caregiver social support are associated with different child welfare outcomes. Notably, when caregivers were more satisfied with their social support and caseworkers rated caregiver social support as adequate, children were less likely to be placed out of the home. Also, caregivers who had more people to call on for support rated their children as having less severe behavior problems. Implications for practice are addressed.

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