Do Fewer Spankings and Friendlier Neighbors Mean Less CPS?

There are many things that influence how a child grows up. Neighborhoods and discipline methods are two big ones!


A new study published in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect shows that there’s a direct correlation between how often a child is spanked, the friendliness of their neighborhood, and how often CPS gets involved. Sounds strange to you? There’s actually a really sound reason behind it all.


Researchers at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University gathered data from a total of 2,267 children in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study at Princeton University. Then they compared the results with a random sample of 4,789 children from 20 large cities around the U.S. The results were very revealing.


Discipline methods and the type of community a child lives in both play a role


Apparently, two factors make a big difference in how likely CPS is to get involved in a child’s life. Namely, how often they’re spanked by their parents or caregivers, and the type of people living in their neighborhood. According to the study results, fewer spankings and friendlier neighbors are both major factors in reducing kid’s contact with CPS.


Andrew Grogan-Kaylor, one of the study’s co-authors, is an associate professor of social work at the University of Michigan. “Our findings suggest that promoting caring, neighborly relationships among residents that support the needs and challenges of families with young children can help ensure children’s safety.”


This is the first study to combine these factors


Julie Ma, an assistant professor of social work at UM-Flint, says that this is the first study to take in account both the methods of discipline and the communities children grow up in at the same time. And then consider these issues within the framework of child abuse and CPS intervention.


In a statement announcing the results of the study, Ma explained what made the study unique. “Both the types of neighborhoods in which parents choose, or are forced, to raise their children and parents’ decisions about whether they spank their children influence the chances of CPS involvement.”


And so, with these results in mind, what does Ma believe we can do to increase a child’s chances of success, and minimize CPS intervention? “Programs and policies should address strategies for building supportive resident interactions in the neighborhoods, as well as non physical child discipline to help reduce maltreatment.”


Spanking is legal, but not always preferable in Michigan


Although spanking is not considered to be child abuse in Michigan, and parents are legally allowed to choose this method of discipline, it is not widely regarded as the best method of discipline. Most mental health specialists now agree that children do better with non physical discipline.

Despite popular opinion, it is still allowed, and many parents still make the decision to spank their children, which is their right in Michigan. If you or a loved one have made the choice to parent your children in the way that you believe is proper, and CPS is giving you a hard time for it, call 866 766 5245 and talk to an experienced CPS defense attorney today.


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