A study jointly conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, and published in the Child Abuse and Neglect Journal reveals some very interesting facts about how spanking and neighborhood conditions play a role in CPS involvement with families. Specifically, the more kids are spanked, and the less involved and supportive their neighborhoods are in their daily lives, the more likely CPS is to be involved with a family.
Researchers analysed almost 2,300 families from 20 large cities around the U.S., and compared that data with information gathered from a total of 2,267 children in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study conducted at Princeton University. In particular, data was assessed about the frequency with which mothers spanked their children, and the kinds of relationships they had with their neighbors. The answers were very enlightening.
There were many factors that affect CPS involvement
As it turns out, the study revealed that there were actually a number of factors that could increase a family’s chance of being investigated by CPS. These included:
- Mother’s poor mental health (specifically depression)
- Non-supportive neighborhood conditions
While poverty and depression among mothers is not news to anyone as reasons why a family might be reported to CPS for investigation, it’s the other two factors that are much more surprising. Whether or not a child is spanked (and how often), and whether or not the mother has supportive relationships among her neighbors apparently makes a big difference. Living in neighborhoods with strong social cohesion and trust protected families against getting involved in the child welfare system
How could this information be useful to parents today?
Julie Ma, assistant professor of social work at U-M Flint and study’s lead author says that this data should be used to drive policy changes. “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.” she explained in a media release about the study.
Another suggestion made would be to focus on educating parents about alternatives to spanking. Although spanking is not considered to be child abuse in Michigan, and parents are legally allowed to choose this method of discipline, it’s not widely regarded as a good method of discipline. Most mental health specialists now agree that children do better with non physical discipline. That could include time outs, loss of privileges, increased chores, loss of allowance, or many other non-violent options.
But parents have the right to raise their kids as they see fit.
Despite current popular opinion, spanking kids is still allowed, and many Michigan parents still choose to use corporal punishment to discipline their children, which is their right. If you or a loved one have made the choice to parent your children in the way that you believe is right, and CPS is giving you a hard time for it, call 866 766 5245 to talk to an experienced CPS defense attorney today. We’ve helped countless parents defend their rights over the years, and we can help you too.