Marie-Pascale Grimon (Harvard University) "Effects of Child Welfare Investigations On Parent Outcomes"
Abstract: One-third of American children’s homes are investigated by child welfare agencies for abuse and neglect, yet the impacts of these investigations on parental outcomes are not well studied. I identify causal effects relying on a novel combination of an event study set-up with imperfect random assignments of investigators. Mothers assigned to investigators one standard deviation more likely to open a child welfare case enroll up to 4.9% more in mental health services and 7.6% more in substance abuse services during the 12 months following a referral compared to their prior use. These effects hold up for investigators who open more cases without removing children from the home. Six years later, mothers who were assigned to investigators one standard deviation more likely to remove children from their care are still using substance abuse services 5% more. In contrast, the average father is almost unaffected both in the short and long run.