Essays on Child Protective Services Reporting
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CitationFong, Kelley. 2020. Essays on Child Protective Services Reporting. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractAt the nexus of state and family, the child welfare system is central to governmental efforts to manage marginality and deviance. U.S. child protection authorities (Child Protective Services, or CPS), tasked with protecting children from abuse and neglect, investigate the families of 3.5 million children each year, disproportionately poor families and families of color. CPS relies on professionals like doctors, teachers, and police officers as well as on relatives, friends, neighbors, and other community members to alert the agency about suspected maltreatment. This dissertation consists of three essays analyzing this front door to the child welfare system, drawing on statewide administrative records from Connecticut, fieldwork on CPS investigations in Connecticut, and in-depth interviews with low-income mothers in Rhode Island. The first essay uses Connecticut administrative data to estimate the prevalence of CPS contact based on demographic characteristics of children’s residential neighborhoods. The second and third essays – analyzing fieldwork data from Connecticut and Rhode Island, respectively – examine mechanisms and implications of CPS reporting (or the lack thereof) as a means of addressing family adversity. Overall, the dissertation presents activation of the formal state response to child maltreatment as a socially patterned process and a socially meaningful experience, consequential for our understanding of family and neighborhood inequality, poverty governance, and social control.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365764
- FAS Theses and Dissertations