Our children are our future, but sadly enough, child neglect is a major problem in the US. In fact, an estimated one-third of children are subject to a child protective services investigation before the age of 18.
Research has found that the stress of poverty is often linked to child abuse, which is why a new study out of the University of Washington is so fascinating and relevant. The study found that a 10 percent increase in a common financial benefit for low-to moderate-income working families (the Earned Income Tax Credit) led to a 9 percent decrease in the annual number of reports of child neglect made to child welfare agencies over a 14-year study period.
In other words, providing increased economic relief to struggling families can reduce child neglect.
“The EITC is an important part of the US safety net that has been shown to substantially reduce child poverty,” said Nicole Kovski, a doctoral student at the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington. “Our results add to growing evidence that policies that improve family economic security can also prevent child maltreatment.”
The results of the study come at a time where the new White House administration in office has proposed an expansion of the child tax credit as part of a new stimulus plan.
“Child neglect often involves the failure of a caregiver to provide children with necessities, such as food, shelter, and basic supervision. Additional income provided to families through the EITC can improve parents’ abilities to meet these basic needs,” Kovski added.