The Effects of Out-of-Home Placement on the School Engagement of Maltreated Children

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Virginia Tech

Children in the child welfare system face a multitude of challenges following maltreatment. These children frequently go on to report poor outcomes in many facets of their life, including education. It is thought that children who are removed from their home following maltreatment and placed in out-of-home placement (OHP), experience even more challenges due to their removal from their home and environment. The literature surrounding maltreated children's educational outcomes suggest that these children struggle in school when compared to children who have not experienced maltreatment. However, literature surrounding the educational outcomes of maltreated children who experience OHP, versus maltreated children who do not experience OHP, tend to collectively present with mixed results. The purpose of this study was to isolate the effect of OHP on the educational outcome of, school engagement, to get a clearer picture of how OHP affects the educational outcomes of maltreated children. This study utilized data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being (NSCAW II) with a total sample of 1,490 children. Propensity score matching was employed to isolate the effect of OHP on school engagement. The results indicate that there is no statistically significant difference in the school engagement of maltreated children who experience OHP, when compared to the school engagement on maltreated children who remain in-home. Direction for future research, and clinical implications are addressed.

child welfare, out-of-home placement, educational outcomes, school engagement