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Characteristics of Child Abuse in Immigrant Korean Families and Correlates of Placement Decisions

NCJ Number
Child Abuse & Neglect: The International Journal Volume: 30 Issue: 8 Dated: August 2006 Pages: 881-891
Janet Chang; Siyon Rhee; Dale Weaver
Date Published
August 2006
11 pages
This study examined the characteristics and patterns of child maltreatment among Korean immigrant families as well as the critical factors that contributed to the choice of placement made by child protective services (CPS) in Los Angeles County.
Overall the results indicated that the pattern of Korean child maltreatment differed from that of child maltreatment in the general population in Los Angeles County. Korean immigrant families were more likely to engage in physical abuse (49.4 percent) than neglect (20.6 percent) when compared to all groups in Los Angeles. These findings are consistent with previous research conducted with parents in Korea as well as immigrant Korean parents in the United States. Other findings revealed that emotional abuse was quite common among the Korean immigrant families, with witnessing domestic violence as the most frequent type of emotional abuse inflicted upon children. The authors advise CPS workers to be sensitive to the fact that Korean parental use of corporal punishment as a child rearing practice is rooted in cultural traditions and, as such, appropriate interventions should include parent education regarding the negative outcomes associated with corporal punishment. Several predictors of CPS decisions to place children out of the home were identified, including: referral from police, repeated or persistent abuse, single or step-parent household, and when the perpetrator was the mother. Active case files on 170 cases of Korean child maltreatment maintained by the Asian Pacific Unit (APU) of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (LAC-DCFS) were reviewed and analyzed from July through September 2001. Variables under analysis included victim and abuser characteristics, type of abuse, abuse severity, circumstances under which the abuse occurred, referral sources, disposition of case, and case outcomes. Data were analyzed using logistic regression models to assess the odds of children being kept in the home or placed outside of the home. Future research should focus on accurately assessing the prevalence and patterns of child maltreatment in understudied communities. Tables, references