This study focuses on the etiology of two specific forms of child neglect: physical neglect and supervisory neglect. Welfare reform requires parents to spend more time in formal employment, subject them to time limits and sanctions on the receipt of income assistance, and may result in unstable health care coverage for their families. Assessing whether such changes results in a differential rate of child maltreatment in general, and different types of child neglect in particular, is the focus of this study.
The specific aims of the project are to assess the relationship between child and (1) employment, (2) income (dynamics), and (3) health care coverage. We will also identify the factors that mediate or moderate such relationships and expand the knowledge about causal pathways leading to specific forms of child neglect. We will also include baseline assessments of child development so that future studies may assess the developmental impacts of these forms of child neglect. This study builds upon the Illinois Families Study (IFS). The IFS will follow 1,500 families over six-years to study the effects of welfare and work by conducting annual surveys to gather information about demographics, employment, income, parenting, child care, health, and domestic violence and will gather, quarterly administrative data about use of welfare, Medicaid, unemployment, and social services. Nine Illinois counties have been selected for the study representing over 75% of the Illinois TANF caseload. This study will involve a sub-sample of children the IFS (500 children <2 years at the first interview). A parent will be interviewed, in-person, 6 months after the first IFS interview and then annually. The interview will focus on child development and temperament, parenting beliefs, household accident risks, adequacy of basic needs, and health care . Medical chart reviews will be conducted to assess access and adequacy of health care and to identify additional risks for neglect. Quarterly administrative data from the Illinois Department of Employment's Insurance database, the New-Hire registry, and all social agency registries (Food Stamps, Medicaid, Child Abuse) will be linked for each subject. Data from a continuously integrated database of children's services in Illinois that depicts a full network of relationships linking individual children and public services (e.g. child protection, juvenile justice, Medicaid, special education, and mental health services) will also be linked. The more likely statistical power levels for each neglect outcome range from .72 to .94 for a two-tailed test, and from .82 to .97 for a one-tailed test. This study will not rely solely on formal indicators of neglect, but will investigate other """"""""informal"""""""" indicators based on operationalized definitions of environmental, physical, and supervisory neglect. Independent measures will include demographics, parental characteristics, parent-child interaction, parent and child physical and mental health, and child development. The means, standard deviations, and ranges associated with each indicators will be reported, and for repeated measured, the average change from one interview to the next will be provided. The primary goal of the multivariate analyses is to determine which factors or combinations of factors place children at greater risk for child neglect and CPS intervention.
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