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Associations between adverse childhood experiences and non-parental care placement among Head Start-eligible low-income children


The aim of this study is to determine if adverse childhood experience (ACE) is a predictor for non-parental care status based on the Head Start Impact Study data. ACEs consisted of parental alcohol/drug use, depression, neglectful parenting practices, family violence and single parenthood. Children's non-parental care status was based on whether children lived in a placement away from their biological parents. This study examined (i) if each of the ACEs have any association with the status of non-parental care and (ii) if the cumulative number of ACEs have any impact on these associations. Each of the ACEs was associated with the likelihood of children living apart from their biological parents except parental alcohol/drug abuse. As children's ACE scores increased, so did the likelihood of them being in non-parental care. Children whose mothers had less than a high school education, those speaking English at home and children living in rural areas were more likely to be in non-parental care, whereas recently immigrated families were less likely to be in non-parental care. ACEs screening and family-focused trauma-informed care should be implemented within early childcare and education programs, such as Head Start, to ensure wellbeing among young at-risk children with ACEs. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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