We estimated associations between experiencing a home foreclosure filing and experiencing a child protective services (CPS) investigation or substantiation.


We linked a large sample drawn from administrative data on foreclosure filings, CPS involvement, and participation in a host of other public programs for >60 000 Wisconsin households over a 4-year period from 2008 to 2011. Our empirical analyses used piecewise exponential survival models to estimate the risk of CPS involvement (investigation or substantiation) as a function of a home foreclosure filing and a set of individual and household characteristics. We fitted these models with and without the inclusion of propensity score weights.


Households that experienced a foreclosure filing had a much higher probability of CPS involvement. This was true in the year before the filing as well as the year after the foreclosure filing. However, these associations were generally largest in the period before or shortly afterward.


Experiencing a foreclosure filing is associated with increased CPS involvement. However, it is not clear that this association is driven by the foreclosure filing action itself. Rather, increased risk of CPS involvement is apparent during the process of moving toward the filing as well as the year or so after the filing, both of which are likely characterized by limited economic resources as well as by financial and other stress.

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