The Neglected Ones: Time at Home During COVID-19 and Child Maltreatment

37 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2020

See all articles by Lindsey Bullinger

Lindsey Bullinger

Georgia Institute of Technology

Kerri Raissian

University of Connecticut

Megan Feely

University of Connecticut - School of Social Work; University of Connecticut

William Schneider

University of Illinois

Date Written: August 1, 2020


The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led to extreme social isolation, precarious employment and job loss, working from home while tending to children, and limited access to public services. The confluence of these factors likely affects child health and well-being. We combine early release child maltreatment reports in Indiana with unique and newly available mobile phone movement data to better understand the relationship between staying at home intensively during the COVID-19 pandemic and child maltreatment. Our findings indicate that the prolonged stays at home promoted by the public health response to COVID-19 resulted in reductions in child maltreatment reports overall and in substantiated reports of maltreatment. However, relative to areas that stayed home less, children in areas that stayed home more were more likely to be both reported for and a confirmed victim of maltreatment, particularly neglect. These areas have historically been socioeconomically advantaged and experienced lower rates of maltreatment. We only observe increases in confirmed child maltreatment in metropolitan counties, suggesting that the effects of staying home on child maltreatment may reflect both the differential risk of leaving home and access to services in metropolitan–rather than non-metropolitan–counties. Policymakers should consider the impacts of stay-at-home orders on child well-being when determining the appropriate public health and re-opening responses.

Keywords: child abuse and neglect, COVID-19, stay-at-home orders

JEL Classification: J12, J13, I18

Suggested Citation

Bullinger, Lindsey and Raissian, Kerri and Feely, Megan and Schneider, William, The Neglected Ones: Time at Home During COVID-19 and Child Maltreatment (August 1, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Lindsey Bullinger (Contact Author)

Georgia Institute of Technology ( email )

685 Cherry St.
Atlanta, GA 30332-0345
United States

Kerri Raissian

University of Connecticut ( email )

10 Prospect St,
HTB, 4th Floor
Hartford, CT 06103
United States

Megan Feely

University of Connecticut - School of Social Work

1798 Asylum Ave
West Hartford, CT 06117
United States

University of Connecticut

Storrs, CT 06269-1063
United States
9592993625 (Phone)
06103 (Fax)

William Schneider

University of Illinois ( email )

1010 West Nevada Street
Urbana, IL 61820
United States
(217) 300-8278 (Phone)

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics