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February 2022Vol. 23., No. 1What the Evidence Tells Us About Congregate Care

Children with disabilities often experience maltreatment at higher rates than children without disabilities. A researcher at the University of California, Davis, investigated the maltreatment profiles of child welfare-involved children in special education and presented the findings in a recent policy brief, Welfare-Involved Children in Special Education Most Likely to Suffer Supervisory Neglect.

Two questions guided the research:

  • What are the maltreatment profiles of child welfare-involved children who were eligible to receive special education services? 
  • Do those with different maltreatment profiles have different internalizing and externalizing behaviors? 

Based on a sample of 290 children involved with both the child welfare system and special education, the most common class of maltreatment suffered by this population was supervisory neglect (49 percent), followed by physical abuse (24 percent), other maltreatment (e.g., educational maltreatment) (14 percent), and sexual abuse (10 percent). The maltreatment classes did not significantly relate to children's externalizing behaviors; however, certain classes did relate to internalizing behaviors. Children in the supervisory neglect and physically abused classes had higher internalizing behaviors than those in the sexually abused class.

The researcher concludes that supervisory neglect may be the most prominent maltreatment profile due to challenges that caregivers face in supporting children with disabilities. He suggests that understanding the sociological determinants of different maltreatment profiles could help teachers and agencies provide more appropriate and effective supports. 

Read Welfare-Involved Children in Special Education Most Likely to Suffer Supervisory Neglect for more information.