The National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being is a longitudinal study intended to answer a range of fundamental questions about the functioning, service needs, and service use of children who come in contact with the child welfare system. This study examined the placement histories and changes in living situations of infants who come to the attention of Child Protective Services. Instability was defined as a change in the child's caregiver and household at any point after the baseline interview.
Overall, 86 percent of children who were infants at the time of the index maltreatment experienced at least one change of caregiver and household during their first two years of life. Ninety-five percent had at least one change between infancy and 5 to 7 years old. Almost 40 percent of children had experienced 4 or more changes between infancy and entering the school system. Importantly, all infants who were investigated for a report of maltreatment were highly likely to be unstable, regardless of the child's race/ethnicity, gender, or whether the child remained in-home or was placed out-of-home.
Report Title: National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) –Research Brief #18: Instability and Early Life Changes Among Children in the Child Welfare System, http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/resource/national-survey-of-child-and-adolescent-well-being-no-18-instability-and
Agency Sponsor: ACF-OPRE, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
Federal Contact: Mary Webb, 202-205-8628
Record ID: 9967 (September 15, 2012)