Many children involved with the child welfare system witness parental domestic violence. The association between children's domestic violence exposure and child welfare involvement may be influenced by certain socio-cultural factors; however, minimal research has examined this relationship. The current study compares domestic violence experiences and case outcomes among Latinas who are legal immigrants (n = 39), unauthorized immigrants (n = 77), naturalized citizens (n = 30), and US-born citizen mothers (n = 383) reported for child maltreatment. This analysis used data from the second round of the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being. Mothers were asked about whether they experienced domestic violence during the past year. In addition, data were collected to assess if (a) domestic violence was the primary abuse type reported and, if so, (b) the maltreatment allegation was substantiated. Results show that naturalized citizens, legal residents, and unauthorized immigrants did not differ from US-born citizens in self-reports of domestic violence; approximately 33% of mothers reported experiences of domestic violence within the past year. Yet, unauthorized immigrants were 3.76 times more likely than US-born citizens to have cases with allegations of domestic violence as the primary abuse type. Despite higher rates of alleged domestic violence, unauthorized citizens were not more likely than US-born citizens to have these cases substantiated for domestic violence (F(2.26, 153.99) = 0.709, p = .510). Findings highlight that domestic violence is not accurately accounted for in families with unauthorized immigrant mothers. We recommend child welfare workers are trained to properly assess and fulfill the needs of immigrant families, particularly as it relates to domestic violence.
- Child welfare
- Domestic violence
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health