Risk of maltreatment recurrence after exiting substitute care: Impact of placement characteristics

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Children and Youth Services Review, 46: 257-264

This study examines the recurrence of substantiated reports of maltreatment among children who have been placed in out-of-home care by child protective services, with particular attention given to the effect of placement characteristics. The sample consisted of 4120 children reported to Quebec CPS in 2003–2004 and 2007–2008 and removed from their homes. A survival analysis found that the overall risk of recurrence 5.3 years after intervention was 33%, but varied depending on the child's age. Cox regression analyses indicated that the number of moves and the number of different substitute homes experienced by the child did not predict CPS recurrence. However, for the youngest children, there was an association between the number of failed reunifications and recurrence. Other placement, service, and child factors were associated with recurrence and varied with the child's age. The results underscore the importance of preparing properly for exits from care and providing more support to families, especially those with young children, when they are reunited, as well as the importance of taking an age-based approach in efforts to reduce CPS recurrence.

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