Lawrence M Berger

Lawrence M Berger
University of Wisconsin–Madison | UW · School of Social Work

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116
Publications
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Introduction

Publications

Publications (116)
Article
In the mid-2000s, the Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board developed an intervention called the Community Response Program (CRP), intended to fill an important gap in the continuum of services to address child maltreatment. Specifically, families reported to child protective services (CPS) for alleged child maltreatment, but diverted...
Article
This study aimed to consider childhood poverty in relation to a count measure of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) as a predictor of adult health outcomes and to determine whether associations are sensitive to how childhood poverty is operationalized. A sample of 10,784 adult residents was derived using data 2014–2015 Wisconsin annual Behavioral...
Article
Objective (1) Examine associations of foster care exit type (e.g., reunification with birth family, adoption, guardianship/permanent relative placement, or emancipation from care) with risk of entry into state prison; (2) Examine racial disparities in those associations. Method With data on over 10,000 Wisconsin youth who entered foster care in mi...
Article
Full-text available
The spread of COVID-19 and resulting local and national lockdowns have a host of potential consequences for demographic trends. While impacts on mortality and, to some extent, short-term migration flows are beginning to be documented, it is too early to measure actual consequences for family demography. To gain insight into potential future consequ...
Article
Full-text available
Proponents of early childhood education and care programs cite evidence that high-quality center-based childcare has positive impacts on child development, particularly for disadvantaged children. However, much of this evidence stems from randomized evaluations of small-scale intensive programs based in the United States and other Anglo/English-spe...
Article
The majority of alleged abuse or neglect reports to the U.S. child welfare system are either screened out prior to an investigation (i.e., at the “hotline” stage) or investigated only to be closed with no finding of immediate child safety concerns. Yet while many of these children and families are at risk of subsequent incidents of child maltreatme...
Article
This volume of The ANNALS aims to increase awareness among scholars, policy-makers, and practitioners of the size, scope, and functions of child welfare services in the United States. We aim to promote a wider understanding of the broad impacts of child welfare policies and point to ways in which child welfare services can be better incorporated in...
Article
Prior Journal of Marriage and Family decade‐in‐review articles have grappled with the definition and role of family policy for research and policy practice while emphasizing its value to both. In this article, we begin with a broad conceptualization of family policy that encompasses actions intended to achieve explicitly stated goals for families (...
Article
Background: Prior research on Child Protective Services (CPS) involvement among at-risk youth focuses on their roles as parents perpetrating maltreatment against biological offspring. Given family complexity and assortative partnering, measuring all CPS involvement - as perpetrators and non-offending parents of victims - provides new insight into...
Article
Objective: To estimate Prenatal Care Coordination's (PNCC) effect on birth outcomes for Wisconsin Medicaid-covered deliveries. Data source: A longitudinal cohort of linked Wisconsin birth records (2008-2012), Medicaid claims, and state-administered social services. Study design: We defined PNCC treatment dichotomously (none vs. any) and by ser...
Article
Debt is now a substantial aspect of family finances. Yet, research on how household debt is linked with child development has been limited. We use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 cohort and hierarchical linear models to estimate associations of amounts and types of parental debt (home, education, auto, unsecured/uncollatera...
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Prenatal care coordination programs direct pregnant Medicaid beneficiaries to medical, social, and educational services to improve birth outcomes. Despite the relevance of service context and treatment level to investigations of program implementation and estimates of program effect, prior investigations have not consistently attended to these fact...
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Rigid work schedules are negatively associated with adults’ sleep. Less is known about whether parents’ work schedule flexibility influences their children’s sleep. We examined associations of mothers’ perceived work schedule flexibility with their children’s sleep over time and whether these associations were mediated by bedtime routine adherence....
Article
Early childbearing is associated with a host of educational and economic disruptions for teenage girls and increased risk of adverse outcomes for their children. Low-income, maltreated, and foster youth have a higher risk of teen motherhood than the general population of youth. In this study, we assessed differences in the risk of early motherhood...
Article
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Study Objectives Having a regular, age-appropriate bedtime and sufficient sleep from early childhood may be important for healthy weight in adolescence. This study aimed to (1) identify heterogeneous groups of children by bedtime and sleep routines and (2) test longitudinal associations of childhood bedtime and sleep routine groups with adolescent...
Article
Foster children are at disproportionate risk of adverse outcomes throughout the life course. Public policy prioritizes permanency (exiting foster care through reunification with birth parents, adoption, or legal guardianship) to promote foster youths’ healthy development and well-being, but little empirical evidence indicates that permanency, inclu...
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Full-text available
Introduction A majority of US adolescents obtain insufficient sleep. Childhood bedtime routines may be linked with adolescent sleep duration, however, no studies have tested such longitudinal associations. This study tested whether multiple characteristics of childhood bedtime and sleep routines predicted subsequent adolescent sleep duration. Meth...
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Introduction Although screen-based activities, insomnia symptoms, and insufficient sleep are known risk factors for adolescent depressive symptoms, limited research has investigated whether sleep mediates the association between screen time and depressive symptoms. The current study investigated how four teen screen activities are associated with d...
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Maternal repartnering may have benefits for mothers and children. Yet, mothers with coresident children face more difficulty repartnering than other adults. Despite that shared physical custody and father involvement have increased over time, few studies have examined whether nonresidential father involvement and financial support are associated wi...
Article
Background: Evidence suggests both that chronic inflammation mediates the association of food insecurity with adverse health outcomes and that diet may be a significant source of inflammation among food insecure individuals. Objective: To examine whether food security status is associated with dietary inflammatory potential. Design and particip...
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Full-text available
This study estimates the associations of income with both (self-reported) child protective services involvement and parenting behaviors that proxy for child abuse and neglect risk among unmarried families. Our primary strategy follows the instrumental variables approach employed by Dahl and Lochner (2012), which leverages variation between states a...
Article
Rationale: Previous studies have observed an association between participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and depression, which is contrary to SNAP's potential to alleviate food insecurity and financial strain. Objective: This study investigated the impact of change in SNAP participation status on maternal depression...
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Full-text available
This exploratory study examines combinations of income-tested welfare benefits and earnings, as they relate to the likelihood of child maltreatment investigations among low-income families with young children participating in a nutritional assistance program in one U.S. state (Wisconsin). Using a sample of 1065 parents who received the Special Supp...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Introduction Among adults, rigid work schedules are negatively associated with sleep health. Less is known about whether parents’ work schedules influence children’s sleep and how. This study examined associations of mothers’ work schedule flexibility with children’s sleep over time and whether these associations were mediated by children’s bedtime...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Introduction Sleep plays a critical role in impulse-control and decision-making. Pervasive sleep deprivation among adolescents may contribute to their susceptibility to risky behaviors. This study investigates the association between adolescent sleep and risky behaviors in a diverse national sample. Methods The Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing...
Article
A vast amount of literature has documented negative associations between family instability and child development, with the largest associations being in the socioemotional (behavioral) domain. Yet, prior work has paid limited attention to differentiating the role of the number, types, and sequencing of family transitions that children experience,...
Article
Children who have been exposed to maltreatment and other adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are at increased risk for various negative adult health outcomes, including cancer, liver disease, substance abuse, and depression. However, the proximal associations between ACEs and behavioral outcomes during the middle childhood years have been understu...
Article
Prior research shows that having a child with a disability is economically burdensome for parents but we know little about whether this burden extends to unsecured debt. In this study, we examine the link between having a child with a disability that manifests between birth and age 4 and subsequent trajectories in unsecured household debt. We have...
Article
The prevalence of incarceration in the United States is increasingly well known. The prevalence of family involvement with child protective services (CPS) is less understood, though, and there is limited research examining links between incarceration and CPS involvement. Here, we describe the incidence and prevalence of incarceration and CPS involv...
Article
Objectives: We estimated associations between total amount of parental debt and of home mortgage, student loan, automobile, and unsecured debt with children's socioemotional well-being. Methods: We used population-based longitudinal data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth 1979 Cohort and Children of the National Longitudinal Study of...
Article
Amid concern that rising student loan debt has social and economic consequences for young adults, many suggest that student loan debt is leading young adults to forgo home buying. However, there is little empirical evidence on this topic. In this study, we use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 to estimate associations of stud...
Article
This research examines exits from homeownership in the United States between 1999 and 2009 using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. We first document the extent to which homeowners exited owned housing (to a rental unit or a rent-free unit) during that time period. Second, we examine how socio-demographic characteristics, housing charact...
Article
We estimated associations between experiencing a home foreclosure filing and experiencing a child protective services (CPS) investigation or substantiation. We linked a large sample drawn from administrative data on foreclosure filings, CPS involvement, and participation in a host of other public programs for >60 000 Wisconsin households over a 4-y...
Article
This study used data from Waves 1 (1987-1989) and 2 (1992-1994) of the National Survey of Families and Households in the United States and a series of regression models, some of which included individual-specific fixed effects, to estimate associations of particular types and levels of debt with adult depressive symptoms. Results suggest that house...
Article
Prior research suggests considerable heterogeneity in the advantages of living in a 2-parent family. Specifically, children living with married biological parents exhibit more favorable outcomes than children living with cohabiting biological parents and with married and cohabiting stepparents. To explain these differences, researchers have focused...
Article
Families influence their children’s health in two ways that are amenable to public policy—through their financial and other investments in children, and through the quality of care that they provide. In general, children who receive more resources or better parenting are healthier than those who don’t. Public policies, therefore, might improve chil...
Article
Poor school outcomes for children in out-of-home placement (OHP) raise concerns about the adequacy of child welfare and educational policy for this vulnerable population. We analyzed the relation between OHP and academic achievement, focusing on reading and math achievement in grades 3 through 8. Linked administrative data were used for our analyti...
Article
Associations between experiencing child maltreatment and adverse developmental outcomes are widely studied, yet conclusions regarding the extent to which effects are bidirectional, and whether they are likely causal, remain elusive. This study uses the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a birth cohort of 4,898 children followed from birth...
Article
This article uses data from the 1979 and 1997 cohorts of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to estimate the proportions of young men and women who will take on a variety of partner and parent roles by age 30, as well as to describe how these estimates have changed across cohorts. It then draws from identity theory and related theoretical wor...
Article
The majority of U.S. parents spank their children, often beginning when their children are very young. We examined families (N = 2,788) who participated in a longitudinal community-based study of new births in urban areas. Prospective analyses examined whether spanking by the child's mother, father, or mother's current partner when the child was 1-...
Article
Full-text available
In 2006, the Wisconsin Children’s Trust Fund launched a pilot initiative called “Community Response,” a program targeted to families reported for maltreatment, but not served by child protective services due to insufficient child safety concerns. This article presents general information on the program, including the variation in models used by sit...
Chapter
All of the advanced industrialized nations have enacted policies and programs intended to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect as well as to minimize their adverse consequences for children. These efforts, which manifest as a country's child protection system, have the potential to play an important role with regard to child wellbeing, pa...
Article
Full-text available
While demographers have continued to document the notable family changes that have occurred in recent decades, the nature of family functioning across diverse family forms is less well understood. In particular, we know little about the level and quality of parental investment that children receive across a range of contemporary family types. In th...
Conference Paper
Background and Purpose: Sources of racial disproportionality in the child welfare system continue to be an issue of concern. However, most research on this topic has focused on overrepresentation in the system, or on negative case outcomes. Evidence is limited as to whether and in what ways race factors into caseworkers’ service referral decisions....
Article
This study uses data from waves 1 (1987-1989) and 2 (1992-1994) of the National Survey of Families and Households in the United States and a series of standard ordinary least squares (OLS) regressions and OLS regressions with individual-specific fixed effects to estimate associations of particular types and levels of debt with adult depressive symp...
Article
In 2006, the Wisconsin Children's Trust Fund launched a pilot initiative called "Community Response," a program targeted to families reported for maltreatment but not served by child protective services due to insufficient child safety concerns. This article presents general information on the program, including the variation in models used by site...
Article
Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N = 3,870) and cross-lagged path analysis, the authors examined whether spanking at ages 1 and 3 is adversely associated with cognitive skills and behavior problems at ages 3 and 5. The authors found spanking at age 1 was associated with a higher level of spanking and externalizing beh...
Article
This study examines the effects of nonresident fathers' provision of formal and informal cash child support on children's cognitive skills and behavior at 5 years of age. Taking advantage of the panel structure of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, we control for child outcomes at age 3 and a rich set of child and family sociodemograph...
Article
Research suggests that paternal re-partnering and new-partner fertility are associated with decreased nonresident father investments in children. Few studies, however, have examined the influence of maternal re-partnering and new-partner births on nonresident father investments. We use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to examine...
Conference Paper
Introduction: This study examined whether spanking of children at one year of age constitutes a discrete risk factor for Child Protective Services (CPS) involvement. Method: Data were from 2,020 mothers who participated in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a longitudinal, community-based study of urban families. Logistic regression...
Article
Full-text available
This article uses data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to examine whether family instability is associated with changes in perceived social support, material hardship, maternal depression, and parenting stress among mothers of young children. In addition to accounting for the number of transitions that a mother experiences durin...
Chapter
Parental substance abuse is associated with adverse health and developmental outcomes for children. Existing research, however, has not fully explored the relative magnitude of the associations between maternal, paternal, and both parents' substance abuse and child outcomes, nor has it examined these associations in regard to substance abuse among...
Article
This study uses data from the Child Development Supplement of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to examine family structure's associations with adolescent physical health, behavior, and emotional well-being. Findings suggest that adolescents in most other family types tend to have poorer outcomes than those in two-biological-parent families. Adole...
Article
Full-text available
To investigate the associations of caregiver-reported use of language-based bedtime routines among preschoolers at age 3 with children's nighttime sleep duration and cognitive, behavioral, and health outcomes at age 5. Furthermore, we wanted to identify whether parental or household characteristics help explain these associations. We used data on 4...
Article
Full-text available
This article reviews the existing literature on young disadvantaged fathers' involvement with children. It first outlines the predominant theoretical perspectives regarding father involvement among resident (married and cohabiting) biological fathers, resident social fathers (unrelated romantic partners of children's mothers), and nonresident biolo...
Conference Paper
Background and Purpose: Extensive research exists on the risk factors associated with child neglect. However, most child maltreatment research is inadequately designed for identifying true predictors of neglect because sampling strategies do not afford a precise understanding of the timing of predictors vis--vis maltreatment episodes. Appropriate s...
Conference Paper
Background and Purpose: Previous research has demonstrated that spanking children before the age of 1 has a negative impact on their cognitive and behavioral outcomes at ages 2 and 3 (Berlin et al., 2009). However, whether there are longer-term effects of spanking on child development remains unknown. Children with lower cognitive scores and more b...
Article
Substantial numbers of children in the advanced industrialized countries experience child abuse and neglect each year, resulting in considerable social, emotional, and economic costs to both the children themselves and to their societies as a whole. Yet, whereas scholars and policymakers have grown increasingly concerned with promoting child well-b...
Conference Paper
Introduction: Despite interest in assuring preschool children obtain adequate sleep, current understanding of whether advised sleep-related techniques (e.g., regular bedtimes, earlier bedtimes, soothing routines) promote child wellbeing in disadvantaged populations is poor. Methods: We use data on approximately 2,300 children from birth to age 5,...
Article
Full-text available
The authors used data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being to examine associations of child protective services (CPS) caseworkers' perceptions of caregiver substance abuse with their perceptions of the severity of risk and harm a child experienced as a result of alleged maltreatment, as well as with whether a family experienc...
Conference Paper
Given the current economic crisis and the nation's diminishing safety net, an understanding of the role of poverty in child maltreatment has great importance. Although we know that poverty is a strong predictor of child maltreatment and child protection system (CPS) involvement, it is still unclear which forms of poverty matter in regard to child m...
Conference Paper
Background and Purpose: Research suggests that paternal re-partnering through marriage or cohabitation is associated with reductions in both the amount of time fathers spend with their non-resident children and the economic support they provide. Whereas the literature on paternal re-partnering and non-resident father investments in children is rela...
Article
This study used data on 2,453 children aged 4-17 from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being and 5 analytic methods that adjust for selection factors to estimate the impact of out-of-home placement on children's cognitive skills and behavior problems. Methods included ordinary least squares (OLS) regressions and residualized change,...
Article
To examine the associations of child and family sociodemographic characteristics with preschooler bedtime routines. We use parent-report data of 3217 3-year-old children (48% black, 26% Hispanic, and 22% white) from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to examine whether child and family characteristics are associated with the presence, t...
Article
Full-text available
This study used data on 2,297 families from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to examine whether Child Protective Services (CPS) involvement varies by maternal relationship status. Families were categorized according to whether the mother was living with a (male) partner or spouse, was involved in a dating relationship, or was not roma...
Article
We examine how income is associated with the home environments and the cognitive and behavioral development of pre-school children, using data from a birth cohort study of children born at the end of the 20(th) century. Lower-income 3-year-old children are more likely than wealthier children to live in homes with inadequate physical environments an...
Article
Using longitudinal data from the Maternal and Child Supplement of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (N = 3,862) and Hierarchical Linear Models, we estimated associations of family structure states and transitions with children's achievement and behavior trajectories during middle childhood. Results suggest that residing in a single-mother f...
Article
Parental substance abuse is associated with adverse health and developmental outcomes for children. Existing research, however, has not fully explored the relative magnitude of the associations between maternal, paternal, and both parents' substance abuse and child outcomes, nor has it examined these associations in regard to substance abuse among...
Article
We investigate associations of housing assistance with housing and food-related hardship among low-income single-mother households using data from the National Survey of America’s Families (N = 5,396). Results from instrumental variables models suggest that receipt of unit-based assistance, such as traditional public housing, is associated with a l...
Article
This paper uses data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N = 2,098) to examine differences in the parenting practices of four types of resident fathers, defined by their biological relationship to a focal child and their marital status with regard to the focal child's mother. Regression results suggest that biological and social (i...