Child Protective Services May Link Families to Needed Income Supports
The adverse effects of poverty on child and adolescent development are well documented and have been of interest to policy makers for several decades.1 Childhood poverty has a number of lasting impacts, including negative educational and cognitive outcomes, social and emotional behavior problems, poor adult economic outcomes, and health problems.2 For some children, these challenges are coupled with other family stressors including child maltreatment: children in poor families are approximately five times more likely to experience maltreatment than children in non-poor families.3
A number of public safety-net programs exist to help improve the economic well-being of vulnerable children,4 but little is known about the extent to which families with a child maltreatment report receive these services over time. In this brief, we examine the incidence of receiving four types of income support both immediately after the child maltreatment report and eighteen months following. Receipt of benefits immediately after the making of a report may suggest that families were connected to support services prior to their engagement with child protective services (CPS); receiving them only later may suggest the influence of the CPS engagement on support service use.
The income supports analyzed include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps; Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF); housing assistance; and the Social Security disability support. We also examine whether there are differences in the use of these income supports across rural and urban settings.