International Journal of Child and Adolescence Resilience, 1(1), 23-34
Objective: The objective is to provide a profile of non-English/non-French speaking families investigated by child welfare, with primary caregiver language acting as a proxy for immigration. This analysis examines the impact of language on service disposition. Methods: Multivariate analysis was conducted to determine whether primary caregiver language impacts the decision to transfer a case to ongoing services at the conclusion of the investigation, after controlling for clinical factors. Results: Investigations involving non-English/non-French speaking caregivers were more likely to identify physical abuse as the primary maltreatment form, more likely to indicate the caregiver has few social supports and is a victim of domestic violence, and more likely to report no primary source of income than investigations involving non-immigrant caregivers. When controlling for clinical factors, investigations involving these caregivers were significantly less likely to be transferred to ongoing services. However, when controlling for language and clinical factors, investigations of physical abuse were significantly less likely to be opened for ongoing services than investigations of all other maltreatment types. Conclusions and Implications: The findings suggest that there is an interaction between primary caregiver language and maltreatment type in predicting transfers to ongoing services. Given the lower risk profiles of non-English/non-French speaking families, although concerns of social isolation and domestic violence were more likely to be noted, a possible explanation is that these families are overrepresented in investigations of physical abuse. The potential utility of parenting education programs tailored immigrant families as one avenue to address the problem of abusive discipline, merits research attention.