Sibling birth order, use of statutory measures and patterns of placement for children in public care: implications for international child protection systems and research

Gillian Henderson, Christine Jones, Ruth Woods

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    1 Citation (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Public care of abused and neglected children is one important element of statutory intervention which aims to address the major global challenge of protecting children from abuse and neglect. Where a child is part of a sibling group, this introduces particular challenges with regard to meeting the needs of all those affected. This paper presents findings from one of the first studies examining birth order effects on statutory intervention patterns for looked-after siblings. The experiences and outcomes of children were compared depending on maternal birth order at the time of data collection. We found strong evidence that the length of time from first referral of a child deemed at risk to first statutory intervention is greater for first-born than for last-born children and first-born children are significantly older than last-born children when they are first placed on statutory measures. The study concludes that first-born siblings may be particularly vulnerable to delayed statutory intervention and the cumulative effects of harm and certain routes to permanence may be less available to them. We argue for increased focus within international child welfare policy and practice on timely and intensive assessment of first-born children, where risk of maltreatment is identified, in order to address potential inequalities of access to protection. A focus on risk introduced by systemic factors within legal and welfare systems in addition to risk introduced by perpetrators of abuse is needed. We also argue for greater research attention to, and more precise measurement of, birth order as a variable in studies of the looked-after population.
    LanguageEnglish
    JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
    Early online date3 Oct 2017
    DOIs
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Oct 2017

    Fingerprint

    birth order
    Birth Order
    child protection
    Siblings
    reproductive behavior
    Research
    Child Abuse
    abuse
    Child Welfare
    maltreatment
    Referral and Consultation
    child welfare
    Mothers
    social policy
    neglect
    welfare
    Population

    Keywords

    • siblings
    • birth order
    • children's hearings system
    • permanence
    • looked-after children
    • social work
    • child protection

    Cite this

    @article{d82212d3be5b44afadfbf6dcc84ab306,
    title = "Sibling birth order, use of statutory measures and patterns of placement for children in public care: implications for international child protection systems and research",
    abstract = "Public care of abused and neglected children is one important element of statutory intervention which aims to address the major global challenge of protecting children from abuse and neglect. Where a child is part of a sibling group, this introduces particular challenges with regard to meeting the needs of all those affected. This paper presents findings from one of the first studies examining birth order effects on statutory intervention patterns for looked-after siblings. The experiences and outcomes of children were compared depending on maternal birth order at the time of data collection. We found strong evidence that the length of time from first referral of a child deemed at risk to first statutory intervention is greater for first-born than for last-born children and first-born children are significantly older than last-born children when they are first placed on statutory measures. The study concludes that first-born siblings may be particularly vulnerable to delayed statutory intervention and the cumulative effects of harm and certain routes to permanence may be less available to them. We argue for increased focus within international child welfare policy and practice on timely and intensive assessment of first-born children, where risk of maltreatment is identified, in order to address potential inequalities of access to protection. A focus on risk introduced by systemic factors within legal and welfare systems in addition to risk introduced by perpetrators of abuse is needed. We also argue for greater research attention to, and more precise measurement of, birth order as a variable in studies of the looked-after population.",
    keywords = "siblings , birth order, children's hearings system, permanence, looked-after children, social work, child protection",
    author = "Gillian Henderson and Christine Jones and Ruth Woods",
    year = "2017",
    month = "10",
    day = "3",
    doi = "10.1016/j.childyouth.2017.10.001",
    language = "English",
    journal = "Children and Youth Services Review",
    issn = "0190-7409",

    }

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Sibling birth order, use of statutory measures and patterns of placement for children in public care

    T2 - Children and Youth Services Review

    AU - Henderson, Gillian

    AU - Jones, Christine

    AU - Woods, Ruth

    PY - 2017/10/3

    Y1 - 2017/10/3

    N2 - Public care of abused and neglected children is one important element of statutory intervention which aims to address the major global challenge of protecting children from abuse and neglect. Where a child is part of a sibling group, this introduces particular challenges with regard to meeting the needs of all those affected. This paper presents findings from one of the first studies examining birth order effects on statutory intervention patterns for looked-after siblings. The experiences and outcomes of children were compared depending on maternal birth order at the time of data collection. We found strong evidence that the length of time from first referral of a child deemed at risk to first statutory intervention is greater for first-born than for last-born children and first-born children are significantly older than last-born children when they are first placed on statutory measures. The study concludes that first-born siblings may be particularly vulnerable to delayed statutory intervention and the cumulative effects of harm and certain routes to permanence may be less available to them. We argue for increased focus within international child welfare policy and practice on timely and intensive assessment of first-born children, where risk of maltreatment is identified, in order to address potential inequalities of access to protection. A focus on risk introduced by systemic factors within legal and welfare systems in addition to risk introduced by perpetrators of abuse is needed. We also argue for greater research attention to, and more precise measurement of, birth order as a variable in studies of the looked-after population.

    AB - Public care of abused and neglected children is one important element of statutory intervention which aims to address the major global challenge of protecting children from abuse and neglect. Where a child is part of a sibling group, this introduces particular challenges with regard to meeting the needs of all those affected. This paper presents findings from one of the first studies examining birth order effects on statutory intervention patterns for looked-after siblings. The experiences and outcomes of children were compared depending on maternal birth order at the time of data collection. We found strong evidence that the length of time from first referral of a child deemed at risk to first statutory intervention is greater for first-born than for last-born children and first-born children are significantly older than last-born children when they are first placed on statutory measures. The study concludes that first-born siblings may be particularly vulnerable to delayed statutory intervention and the cumulative effects of harm and certain routes to permanence may be less available to them. We argue for increased focus within international child welfare policy and practice on timely and intensive assessment of first-born children, where risk of maltreatment is identified, in order to address potential inequalities of access to protection. A focus on risk introduced by systemic factors within legal and welfare systems in addition to risk introduced by perpetrators of abuse is needed. We also argue for greater research attention to, and more precise measurement of, birth order as a variable in studies of the looked-after population.

    KW - siblings

    KW - birth order

    KW - children's hearings system

    KW - permanence

    KW - looked-after children

    KW - social work

    KW - child protection

    UR - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/01907409

    U2 - 10.1016/j.childyouth.2017.10.001

    DO - 10.1016/j.childyouth.2017.10.001

    M3 - Article

    JO - Children and Youth Services Review

    JF - Children and Youth Services Review

    SN - 0190-7409

    ER -