Children Caring for Themselves and Child Neglect

Brief

Children Caring for Themselves and Child Neglect

When Do They Overlap?

Abstract

This exploratory study considered how local jurisdictions in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area address the issue of children caring for themselves in a "self care" child care arrangement and whether some of these situations overlap with child protective services cases. Researchers conducted focus groups and interviews with child welfare staff and law enforcement officials. Reports of suspected child neglect, specifically reports involving inadequate supervision, were also analyzed. Deciding to leave children home alone is a universal decision that all parents must make. Study findings indicate that how localities respond to reports of inadequate supervision vary by the type of cases accepted, response to these cases, factors considered during the investigation, and how the agency serves the families.

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