Newswise — In a groundbreaking study, researchers have conducted a scoping review of previous studies to explore the effects of policy changes on child poverty rates. The study goes beyond by conducting an empirical analysis to estimate the relationship between child poverty rates and child maltreatment report (CMR) rates, using national county-level data.

The findings highlight the significant impact of policy changes on child maltreatment, with a focus on key policies such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC), Child Tax Credit (CTC), child allowance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and housing voucher. Among these, the study identifies the most influential policies, such as a child allowance and a fully refundable Child Tax Credit, demonstrating substantial indirect effects but also higher costs.

The research emphasizes that despite the potential costs of implementing certain policies, the benefits of reducing child maltreatment rates outweigh the associated expenses. The indirect effects of policy changes, mediated through child poverty rates, present a promising strategy for addressing child maltreatment.

The study, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), provides valuable insights into the potential benefits of targeted policy adjustments in reducing child maltreatment, contributing to the ongoing efforts to create a safer and healthier environment for children.

Note: The detailed findings and methodologies of the study are available in the full report, acknowledging the study's limitations and the need for further investigation into causal relationships.

Kim, H., Kim, Y. Y., Song, E. J., & Windsor, L. (2024). Policies to reduce child poverty and child maltreatment: A scoping review and preliminary estimates of indirect effects. Children and Youth Services Review, 156, 107311.

All authors are affiliated with the School of Social Work, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, United States.

Journal Link: ScienceDirect