Placement in Care in Early Childhood and School Readiness: A Retrospective Cohort Study

Abstract

The current study examined school readiness for children placed in care of child protection services before age 5. This association was assessed using a population-based cohort of children born in Manitoba, Canada, between 2000 and 2009 (n = 53,477) and subcohorts of discordant siblings (one sibling taken into care, one sibling not taken into care; n = 809) and discordant cousins (n = 517). In the population analysis, children placed in care were significantly less likely to be ready for school; this difference was not seen in the discordant sibling or cousin analysis. The findings suggested that differences in school readiness for children placed in care are a result of broader social factors affecting families, not placement into care.