Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research

No 2/2023: Effects of the Child Protection System on Parents

Marie-Pascale Grimon ()
Additional contact information
Marie-Pascale Grimon: Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University, Postal: SOFI, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: Child protective services investigate a third of child-homes for maltreatment, yet repercussions for parents remain unclear. I show that parents face considerable adversity when referred for alleged child maltreatment. Using a novel strategy that combines event studies with variation in intervention tendencies across investigators, I find that child protective services interventions mostly affect mothers. Mothers increase enrollment in mental health and substance abuse treatment services for a year, even when not mandated to do so. Earnings and employment are unaffected, but social services support decrease. Long-run effects differ by whether the intervention involves a child removal. Removals increase repeat child welfare involvement and short-run incarceration for parents.

Keywords: child welfare; parents; substance abuse

JEL-codes: H53; H75; I12; I38; J01

Language: English

69 pages, First version: March 16, 2023. Revised: April 16, 2024. Earlier revisions: April 16, 2024.

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