Objective: Involvement with child protective services (CPS) can have detrimental effects on children and parents alike. This study provided updated information about the prevalence of parenting among individuals with a serious mental illness and established the first contemporaneous and comparative national prevalence estimates of CPS involvement for parents with and without a serious mental illness. Methods: Data came from the Truven Health Analytics PULSE national survey of 42,761 adults conducted between September 2014 and December 2015. Survey questions assessed the presence of a serious mental illness, parenting status, contact with CPS, and types of CPS involvement. Results: Prevalence of parenthood was similar between individuals with (69%) and without (71%) a serious mental illness. Parents with a serious mental illness were approximately eight times more likely to have CPS contact and 26 times more likely to have a change in living arrangements compared with parents without a serious mental illness. Even when the analysis was limited to parents who had CPS contact, parents with a serious mental illness were at greater risk of custody loss compared with parents without mental illness. Conclusions: These results further heighten the need to attend to parenting among individuals with a serious mental illness and better understand the factors associated with CPS involvement to reduce the identified disparities between parents with and without a mental illness. Efforts to reduce CPS involvement would likely reduce stress and enhance recovery and mental health for parents and their children.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health