Mental Health and Special Education Services at School Entry for Children Who Were Involved With the Child Welfare System as Infants
This study examines mental health and special education needs and service use at school entry among children involved in maltreatment investigations as infants. Data are from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being, a national probability study of 5,501 children investigated for maltreatment. The study sample comprised 959 children who were infants at baseline and 5 to 6 years old at the last follow-up. Half had behavioral or cognitive needs at entry to school. About a quarter received outpatient mental health or special education services. Logistic regression showed that compared to children residing with biological parents, adopted and foster children were more likely to receive mental health services, and children adopted or in kinship care were more likely to receive educational services. Increased monitoring of behavioral and cognitive needs of infants reported for maltreatment may facilitate their access to services and ease the transition to school.