Policies to reduce child poverty and child maltreatment: A scoping review and preliminary estimates of indirect effects

Hyunil Kim, Yun Young Kim, Eun Jee Song, Liliane Windsor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study includes a scoping review of prior studies investigating the effects of policy changes on child poverty rates. It further conducts an empirical analysis to estimate the relationship between child poverty rates and child maltreatment report (CMR) rates, utilizing national county-level data. The study then calculates the indirect effects of policy changes on CMR rates, mediated through child poverty rates, by integrating information from previous studies with its own empirical findings. Among the policy changes explored in prior studies, those related to a child allowance and a fully refundable Child Tax Credit demonstrate the largest indirect effects but also the highest costs. The expansion of in-kinds and near-cash benefits, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits and housing vouchers, shows moderate effects with moderate costs. Tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit exhibit lower effects and costs when targeted at the lowest earners, and moderate effects and costs for broader expansion. Focused tax credits, such as the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, had lower effects and costs, even if made fully refundable. Despite certain limitations, the study's approach yields consistent estimates with a recent simulation study, indicating its potential validity. While some proposed policy changes may seem expensive, implementing them is anticipated to substantially reduce CMR rates, with the benefits outweighing the associated costs. Overall, the findings suggest that addressing child poverty to reduce CMRs is an attractive strategy with numerous potential benefits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107311
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • Child abuse
  • Child maltreatment
  • Child poverty
  • Child protective services
  • County-level analysis
  • Indirect effects
  • Poverty policy
  • Scoping review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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