Does child maltreatment occur more often in adoptive and stepfamilies than in biological families? Data were collected from all 17 Dutch child protective services (CPS) agencies on 13,538 cases of certified child maltreatment in 2005. Family composition of the maltreated children was compared to a large national representative sample of the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study (NKPS). Larger families, one-parent families, and families with a stepparent showed elevated risks for child maltreatment. Adoptive families, however, showed significantly less child maltreatment than expected. The findings are discussed in the context of parental investment theory that seems to be applicable to stepparents but not to adoptive parents.
- Child maltreatment
- Parental investment