Inadequate housing and the child protection system response

Sarah A. Font, Emily J. Warren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Involvement with child protective services (CPS) is common among families experiencing inadequate housing conditions. As with other issues of material deprivation, inadequate housing is an area where the distinction between neglect and poverty is difficult to ascertain, and the response of the child protection system to inadequately-housed families is largely understudied. This study uses a nationally representative sample of child protection investigations to explore the associations between two types of inadequate housing-doubling up and experiences of homelessness-and system outcomes. Specially, we identify that, after accounting for other risk factors, inadequate housing is significantly associated with the receipt of services, but not directly associated with either substantiation or case closure. Moreover, housing concerns may have a different association with case outcomes when interacted with other risk factors, specifically mental health and substance abuse, and domestic violence. Overall, results suggest that, while child protection workers do not view inadequate housing as neglect in and of itself, they do identify housing issues as a service need.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1809-1815
Number of pages7
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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