Does a Co-Resident Grandparent Matter? Characteristics of Maltreatment-Related Investigations Involving Lone-Parent Families

Shalhevet Attar-Schwartz*, Joanne Filippelli, Barbara Fallon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This exploratory study compares the profile of child welfare maltreatment-related investigations involving lone-parent families with and without co-residing grandparents. Based on data from the Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect (CIS-2008), a weighted national representative sample of 92,885 maltreatment-related investigations involving children aged zero to fifteen in lone-parent families with no other care-givers at home (n = 87,738) and with a co-resident grandparent (n = 5,147) was examined. Multigenerational households were characterised, according to child welfare workers' reports, by younger child's age, youngster parent's age and Aboriginal status. After controlling for the child's age, children in multigenerational families had reduced odds of suicidal thoughts and academic difficulties. However, they were more likely to be identified as having parents with drug/solvent use problems and cognitive impairments, as living in more overcrowded households, and as experiencing more moves. Lone parents in multigenerational households were evaluated to have stronger social support systems and a greater likelihood, nonetheless, of risk-only investigations. Finally, multigenerational households were reported to have child welfare cases that remained open for ongoing services. These findings shed light on the profile of children in contact with welfare services living in multigenerational lone-parent households and have implications for designing child welfare programs.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1638-1657
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The British Association of Social Workers. All rights reserved.


  • child welfare
  • ecological theory
  • resident grandparents
  • suspected maltreatment


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