Focus and Focus+ Icon

Does increased income reduce child maltreatment?

Child maltreatment and child protective services (CPS) involvement are relatively common experiences; about 4.5 percent of children in the United States (6 million) are the subject of calls to CPS each year, and about 1 percent of all children have confirmed instances of child maltreatment annually. Over the course of childhood, about 13 percent of all children, and 21 percent of African American children, will have a confirmed child maltreatment report. Maltreatment is also an expensive public health problem; the federal government spends about $8 billion annually on the child protective services system, and the annual cost of new incidents in the United States is estimated to be between $1.25 billion and $5.5 billion. Child maltreatment is correlated with a variety of adverse outcomes throughout the life course, including intergenerational transmission of both child maltreatment and overall disadvantage. In this article, I describe a study that used evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to assess whether increasing income for low-income families reduces the incidence of child maltreatment.


Child Maltreatment & Child Welfare System, Child Poverty, Children, Economic Support, Family & Partnering, Inequality & Mobility, Intergenerational Poverty, Parenting, Social Insurance Programs