Parenting Stress Among Child Welfare Involved Families: Differences by Child Placement

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Children and Youth Services Review

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Publication Date



Parental Stress, Children mental health


The intersection of parenting stress and maltreatment underscores the importance of understanding the factors associated with parenting stress among child welfare involved families. This study takes advantage of a statewide survey of child welfare involved families to examine parent and child characteristics and concrete resources, in relation to parenting stress. Separate multivariate analyses were conducted by placement status given the difference in day-to-day parenting responsibilities for families receiving in-home supervision compared to those whose children are in out-of-home care. Across both groups, parenting stress was predicted by child mental health, a finding with critical implications for intervention to this vulnerable group of families. Parent mental health also predicted parenting stress for the in-home group and food insecurity predicted parenting stress in the out-of-home group. Findings confirm that stress varies by context and that a multi-dimensional framework, considering both psychosocial and concrete resources, is required to capture contributors to parenting stress.


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