(CALMATTERS) – How many California-born children would you estimate come into contact with Child Protective Services in a given year? A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health offers a conservative approximation: At least 26% of the more than 519,000 kids born in California in 1999 were investigated for possible maltreatment before they turned 18, with 10.5% of cases ultimately substantiated. The researchers found stark racial disparities: 50% of Native American children and 47% of Black children were investigated for alleged mistreatment, compared to 29% of Latino children, 22% of white children and 13% of Asian/Pacific Islander children. Kids born to mothers 25 or younger or with less than a high school diploma were more likely to have contact with Child Protective Services, as were kids born without established paternity and those whose births were covered by public insurance.

  • Emily Putnam-Hornstein, lead author of the study“When children are endangered, I do think child protection is the right response. I just don’t believe for a second that this many children and families require what is ultimately the heavy hand of the child protection system in their lives.”