Neglecting to consider early emotional development after abuse and/or neglect: Insights and recommendations from child welfare providers

Nicole Megan Edwards, Carlomagno C. Panlilio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Laying a strong foundation for emotional development in children birth to 5 is of critical importance, but the extent to which this is considered following child abuse and/or neglect, foster care placement, reunification, and potential re-entry into foster care remains unclear. Using a convergent mixed methods design, we investigated perceptions among child welfare professionals given the contributing role they could play in both initiating provider–parent dialogue and connecting families with timely resources to better support early emotional development post-abuse/neglect. Fifty eight child welfare professionals in an urban, Northeastern County of the USA participated (73% response rate). Survey data and focus group insights shed light on satisfaction with and roadblocks to supporting foster and biological parents in promoting emotional development. A low proportion of respondents offered advice on emotional development, referred families to relevant parent education, or perceived biological or foster parents as extremely prepared. Self-reported likelihood of providing advice to families was positively associated with access to information on emotional development, years employed, and job satisfaction. Multilevel roadblocks were identified. Results inform systems-level, family-centred initiatives and information sharing to better support emotional development post-abuse and/or neglect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)501-513
Number of pages13
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this