COVID-19 and Alleged Child Maltreatment

42 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2020 Last revised: 2 Oct 2020

See all articles by Lindsey Bullinger

Lindsey Bullinger

Georgia Institute of Technology

Angela Boy

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

Megan Feely

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

Stephen Messner

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

Kerri Raissian

University of Connecticut

William Schneider

University of Illinois

Shannon Self-Brown

Georgia State University - School of Public Health

Date Written: September 19, 2020

Abstract

The policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic led to a sudden and unprecedented increase in the amount of time parents and children spent at home. We use real-time, novel mobile phone movement data and quick-release administrative data on child maltreatment referrals to examine how time at home is related to allegations of child maltreatment. Findings show that allegations plummeted by approximately 55% following the emergency declaration relative to 2018 and 2019 trends during the same time period. However, time at home during the pandemic was associated with more referrals, particularly of supervisory neglect, with the largest impacts in metropolitan counties, counties with historically lower referral rates, and counties with more poverty. We also find that more time at home is positively related to educational neglect referrals among children in areas with high poverty and higher referral rates. Our results highlight how children and families are faring during the pandemic, and we offer several clinical and policy implications.

Keywords: child abuse and neglect, COVID-19, child protection

JEL Classification: J12, J13, I18

Suggested Citation

Bullinger, Lindsey and Boy, Angela and Feely, Megan and Messner, Stephen and Raissian, Kerri and Schneider, William and Self-Brown, Shannon, COVID-19 and Alleged Child Maltreatment (September 19, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3702704 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3702704

Lindsey Bullinger (Contact Author)

Georgia Institute of Technology ( email )

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

Angela Boy

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta ( email )

Atlanta, GA
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)

Stephen Messner

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta ( email )

Atlanta, GA
United States

Kerri Raissian

University of Connecticut ( email )

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

William Schneider

University of Illinois ( email )

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

Shannon Self-Brown

Georgia State University - School of Public Health ( email )

140 Decatur Street
Atlanta, GA 30303

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