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Predictors of special education receipt among child welfare-involved youth


Although the cognitive, physical and psychosocial consequences of maltreatment can heighten maltreated children's risk for special education, we know less about how a broader set of socio-ecological factors relate to their receipt of special education. This quantitative study investigated how selected attributes of children (e.g., gender) and their microsystems (e.g., caregiving settings) related to the receipt of special education among a sample of 1855 child welfare-involved youth (48% male, 52% female, Mage = 11 years) from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being II. Results from logistic regression models show that children with cognitive challenges had higher odds of receiving special education (odds ratio [OR] = 3.13; p < .001). Regarding children's microsystems, youth in foster care had odds of receiving special education that was approximately 2.7 times higher relative to children in biological or adoptive care (OR = 2.72; p < .05). The association between foster care and special education receipt underscores the importance of supports that foster families may need to promote the educational well-being of children with disabilities under their care.

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