School–Based Early Intervention and Later Child Maltreatment in the Chicago Longitudinal Study

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Abstract

Investigated were the effects of participation in the Title I Child–Parent Centers (CPC) on substantiated reports of child maltreatment for 1,408 children (93% of whom are African American) in the Chicago Longitudinal Study. The CPCs provide child education and family support services in high–poverty areas. After adjusting for preprogram maltreatment and background factors, 913 preschool participants had significantly lower rates of court petitions of maltreatment by age 17 than 495 children of the same age who participated in alternative kindergarten interventions (5.0% vs. 10.5%, a 52% reduction). Participation for 4 to 6 years was significantly associated with lower rates of maltreatment (3.6% vs. 6.9%, a 33% reduction). Findings based on child protective service records (as well as combined protective service and court records) were similar. Preschool length, family risk, and school poverty were associated with lower rates of maltreatment. Parental involvement in school and school mobility were significant mediators of intervention effects.

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