Duration in poverty-related programs and number of child maltreatment reports: A multilevel negative binomial study

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Child Maltreatment, 22(1), 14-23

This study examined the relationship of a family’s duration in poverty-related programs (i.e., Aid to Families with Dependent Children/Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Medicaid) to the subject child’s number of maltreatment reports while considering race and baseline neighborhood poverty. Children from a large Midwestern metropolitan area were followed through a linked cross-sector administrative database from birth to age 15. Generalized multilevel models were employed to account for the multilevel structure of the data (i.e., nesting of families within neighborhoods). The data showed a unique and significant contribution of duration in poverty-related programs to the number of maltreatment reports. The predicted number of maltreatment reports increased by between 2.5 and 3.7 times, as duration in poverty-related programs increased from 0 to 9 years. This relationship was consistent between Whites and non-Whites (over 98% Black), but non-Whites showed a significantly lower number of total maltreatment reports while controlling for duration in poverty-related programs. We were unable to find a significant association between child maltreatment reports and baseline neighborhood poverty.

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