Infant placement in Canadian child maltreatment-related investigations

Journal article
Canadian CW research

Tonmyr, Lil
Williams, Gabriela
Jack, Susan M.
MacMillan, Harriet

International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 9(5): 441-459

This study examined factors associated with decisions in favour of out-of-home placement following investigations involving infants at risk of maltreatment. We used data from a sample of children less than 1 year of age (n = 763) investigated by child welfare services across Canada in 2003. We tested unadjusted relationships with placement using Pearson’s chi-square statistic. Multivariate logistic regression analyses identified parental substance abuse, mental health problems and few social supports as being associated with an increased likelihood of placement. Child’s toxicology at birth, abandonment, physical harm and number of previous family openings also increased the likelihood of placement. Several variables that have been associated with increased placement in previous studies, such as single motherhood and young maternal age, did not show a statistically significant association in our analysis. Among those infants that were placed, there was insufficient power to compare kinship and non-kinship care. This analysis demonstrates the need for the implementation of established prevention programs, such as the Nurse-Family Partnership and substance abuse programs for caregivers.

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