Domestic violence and immigration status among Latina mothers in the child welfare system: Findings from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being II (NSCAW II)

Ijeoma Nwabuzor Ogbonnaya, Megan Finno-Velasquez, Patricia L. Kohl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-206
Number of pages10
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume39
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Child welfare
  • Domestic violence
  • Immigration
  • Latina

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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