Child protection services and parents with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Traci LaLiberte, Kristine Piescher, Nicole Mickelson, Mi Hwa Lee
Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities: JARID 2017, 30 (3): 521-532

BACKGROUND: Information about parents with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in the child protection system (CPS) continues to evolve. This study examined characteristics, experiences and representation of parents with IDD across three CPS decision points, as compared to parents with other disabilities and parents without disabilities in the United States.

METHODS: The sample consisted of 303,039 individuals: 2,081 were individuals identified as parents in a CPS investigation; 1,101 had children in out-of-home care (OHC); and 308 experienced termination of parental rights (TPR). Descriptive statistics, chi-square analysis, disparity indices and logistic regression were employed.

RESULTS: Parents with IDD were significantly more likely than parents without disabilities (but not significantly more likely than parents with other types of disabilities) to experience disproportionately representation.

CONCLUSIONS: Parents with IDD are generally over-represented within CPS; however, this representation is dependent upon the comparison group utilized and other risk factors. CPS system-level changes are necessary.

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