Poverty & Child Welfare

For information about the connection between the child welfare system and homelessness, see our page Homeless After Foster Care.


  • Working Together for Children and Families Where TANF and Child Welfare Meet
    This article reviews the significance of family poverty with child maltreatment, and offers policy recommendations to promote child wellbeing within the context of welfare reform. It outlines the experience of one State with regards to interagency collaboration around TANF and child welfare.

  • Welfare Reform's Effect on Child Welfare Caseloads
    The paper from the Urban Institute examines the links between the cash assistance and child welfare systems. Interviews with more than 350 child welfare administrators, researchers, supervisors, legislative representatives, and advocates in 13 states found no evidence to suggest that welfare reform had significantly increased the number of families referred to child welfare agencies. The authors conclude that concern for dual-system families may be well-founded as many respondents noted the challenges faced by families involved in both systems. The authors review the few studies that address the effects of welfare reform on child welfare concluding that research on this topic is limited. (February 2001)

  • Remaining Versus Removal: Preventing Premature Removal when Poverty is Confused with Neglect
    In this article from The Michigan Child Welfare Law Journal, law student Erica Turcios takes on the difficult issue of confusing poverty with neglect. She discusses the risk to the child of unwarranted removal and the research done on child poverty. Since poverty necessarily puts children at some level of risk, premature removals may be inevitable if neglect is not clearly defined or is given an overly broad definition that does not account for these problems. Can the law control the decision-making process by more carefully defining “child neglect” for purposes of court jurisdiction and removal? Pennsylvania and New York statutes provide excellent models of statutory language that head off both the poverty-neglect confusion problem and thus the premature removal problem. The author urges Michigan to follow suit by amending its Juvenile Code. (2009)

  • Hard Times Made Harder: Struggling Caregivers and Child Neglect
    Analyzing data from a nationally representative sample of children with a report of child neglect, this study from the Carsey Institute finds that children whose caregivers struggle with drug abuse, mental health problems, alcohol abuse, or to pay for basic necessities were more likely to be placed in out-of-home care than families without such struggles, even after controlling for other risk factors. Their struggles suggest that intervention and prevention must not only integrate substance abuse and mental health services but must also address the needs and effects of long-term poverty, such as apathy, loss of hope, and indifference. The brief, which is authored by Wendy A. Walsh, recommends that government funding for child welfare be directed at more preventive programs that help combat poverty and provide family support services. (Fall 2010)

  • Comprehensive Advocacy for Low-Income African American Men and their Communities
    This paper, by Jill Groblewski, presents the Center for Family Policy and Practice’s rationale for supporting a comprehensive advocacy approach to addressing the needs of low-income African American men. Citing the effects of the Great Recession, hiring practices, and men’s inability to access social welfare services, CFFPP calls for the provision of holistic services, the dismantling of structural barriers, and the assurance that African American men and women be afforded their full economic and social rights so that they can make their full and desired contributions to their families and communities. (May 2010)


  • Institute for Children and Poverty
    The Institute for Children and Poverty is an independent research and policy think tank based in New York City. ICP evaluates existing strategies and offers innovative approaches to combat the effects of homelessness on the lives of children and their parents.

  • Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Family Economic Success Newsletter
    The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s quarterly Family Economic Success (FES) Newsletter provides updates on activities, developments, and resources in the three major areas of FES – workforce development, family economic supports, and asset building. The goal of Casey’s FES work is to promote specific strategies that enable parents to get jobs and advance in the workforce, increase their income, and build and protect a base of assets sufficient to secure a better future for their families. Past issues of the FES Newsletter are archived on this website.
Last updated 1/14/11