Prevalence of Births and Interactions with Child Protective Services of Children Born to Mothers Diagnosed with an Intellectual and/or Developmental Disability

Rebecca Rebbe, Sharan E Brown, Rebecca A Matter, Joseph A Mienko
Maternal and Child Health Journal 2020 November 26

OBJECTIVES: Concerns have been raised that parents with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD) interact with child protective services (CPS) at disproportionate rates than the general population as a result of bias and discrimination. However, there has been little empirical evidence to ascertain if these concerns are grounded. This study's objectives were to identify (a) the prevalence and sociodemographic characteristics of children born to mothers diagnosed with IDD diagnoses, (b) how many of these children interact with CPS (reports and removals) and (c) when these CPS interactions are occurring.

METHODS: The dataset was comprised of linked administrative birth, hospital discharge, and CPS records for all children born in one U.S. state between 1999 and 2013 (Nā€‰=ā€‰1,271,419). CPS records were available through the first quarter of 2018 and CPS reports and removals at the child's first and fourth birthdays were identified. We conducted chi-square tests and multivariate survival Cox regression models.

RESULTS: A total of 567 children were identified as born to mothers with IDD diagnoses, which is 4.5 per 10,000 births. Of these children, 21.7% were the subject of a CPS report within 1 year and 35.8% within 4 years. In terms of removals, 6.5% experienced removals by 1 year and 8.6% by 4 years.

CONCLUSIONS FOR PRACTICE: This study provides population-based knowledge about how and when the children born to mothers diagnosed with IDD interact with CPS. These children have higher rates of CPS interactions than the general population, but these rates are not as high as previously reported.

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