Predictors of having a first child taken into care at birth: A population-based retrospective cohort study

Child Abuse Negl. 2018 Feb;76:1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2017.09.033. Epub 2017 Oct 6.


The objective of this study is to determine which maternal events and diagnoses in the two years before childbirth are associated with higher risk for having a first child taken into care at birth by child protection services. A population-based retrospective cohort of women whose first child was born in Manitoba, Canada between 2002 and 2012 and lived in the province at least two years before the birth of their first child (n=53,565) was created using linkable administrative data. A logistic regression model determined the adjusted odds ratios (AOR) of having a child taken into care at birth. Characteristics having the strongest association with a woman's first child being taken into care at birth were mother being in care at the birth of her child (AOR=11.10; 95% CI=8.38-14.71), substance abuse (AOR=8.94; 95% CI=5.08-15.71), schizophrenia (AOR=6.69; 95% CI=3.89-11.52) developmental disability (AOR=6.45; 95% CI=2.69-14.29), and no prenatal care (AOR=5.47; 95% CI=3.56-8.41). Most characteristics of women deemed to be at high risk for having their child taken into care at birth are modifiable or could be mitigated with appropriate services.

Keywords: Child protection services; Linkable administrative data; Maternal risk factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Birth Order*
  • Child
  • Child Custody / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child Protective Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Developmental Disabilities / epidemiology
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Manitoba / epidemiology
  • Mothers / statistics & numerical data
  • Poverty / statistics & numerical data
  • Preconception Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Schizophrenia / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology