Material hardship and child neglect risk amidst COVID-19 in grandparent-headed kinship families: The role of financial assistance

Yanfeng Xu, Merav Jedwab, Nelís Soto-Ramírez, Sue E. Levkoff, Qi Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: COVID-19 has exacerbated material hardship among grandparent-headed kinship families. Grandparent-headed kinship families receive financial assistance, which may mitigate material hardship and reduce child neglect risk. Objective: This study aims to examine (1) the association between material hardship and child neglect risk; and (2) whether financial assistance moderates this association in a sample of kinship grandparent-headed families during COVID-19. Participants and setting: Cross-sectional survey data were collected from a convenience sample of grandparent-headed kinship families (not necessarily child welfare involved) (N = 362) in the United States via Qualtrics Panels online survey. Methods: Descriptive, bivariate, and negative binomial regression were conducted using STATA 15.0. Results: Experiencing material hardship was found to be associated with an increased risk of child neglect, and receiving financial assistance was associated with a decreased risk of child neglect in the full sample and a subsample with household income > $30,000. Receiving financial assistance buffered the negative effect of material hardship on child neglect risk across analytic samples, and receiving SNAP was a significant moderator in the full sample. Among families with a household income ≤ $30,000, receiving SNAP and foster care payments was associated with a decreased risk of child neglect, while receiving TANF and unemployment insurance was associated with an increased risk of child neglect. Among families with household income > $30,000, only receiving SNAP was associated with a decreased risk of child neglect. Conclusions: This study suggests the potential importance of providing concrete financial assistance, particularly SNAP and foster care payments, to grandparent-headed kinship families in efforts to decrease child neglect risk during COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105258
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume121
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Keywords

  • Child neglect
  • COVID-19
  • Financial assistance
  • Foster care payment
  • Grandparents
  • Kinship care
  • Material hardship
  • SNAP
  • TANF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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