Substantiation of child maltreatment among parents with disabilities in the United States

Elizabeth Lightfoot, Mingyang Zheng, Sharyn DeZelar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This article describes the first United States-based national study to compare the rates of substantiation of maltreatment among cases reported to child protective services involving caregivers with and without disabilities. Using data from the 2014 National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System dataset, parents with emotional disturbances, developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, physical disabilities, medical conditions and multiple disabilities were all found to have higher odds of substantiation of child maltreatment after being reported to child protection in comparison to parents without disabilities after controlling for demographic and risk factors. Inadequate housing, financial instability and receipt of public assistance were also associated with higher rates of substantiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)583-596
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Public Child Welfare
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Disability
  • child protection
  • child welfare
  • disparities
  • disproportionality
  • parents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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