Focus and Focus+ Icon

Documenting experiences and interactions with Child Protective Services

Darcey Merritt of New York University considers links between families with lived experience of child welfare system interaction and associated parental behaviors and decision-making among mothers in New York City. Merritt provides interview-based data and analysis from the important perspective of CPS-impacted families. Direct insights from CPS-impacted parents are rarely considered by agency administrators, researchers, or policymakers; this line of inquiry may help to create more efficient avenues of understanding and communication as well as more effective policy.


  • Parents’ lived experiences of CPS involvement are under-reported yet vital in making efforts to decrease stigmatizing service delivery for those referred for child maltreatment, particularly neglect.
  • Parenting choices are directly related to differences in resource-rich or resource-poor settings, both inside and out of the home.
  • Scholars have rarely considered the links between families’ lived experiences of child welfare system oversight and associated parental behaviors and decision-making.
  • Every child and parent impacted by CPS involvement is subject to varying levels of stress and trauma related to the system’s inherently intrusive nature.


Child Maltreatment & Child Welfare System, Children, Family & Partnering, Inequality & Mobility, Parenting, Racial/Ethnic Inequality


, , , ,