Multidimensional Aspects of Social Networks: Implications for CPS Recurrence

Reiko Boyd, Abigail Williams-Butler, Katarina Ploch, Kristen Slack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the social network characteristics of 670 mothers reported to and investigated by the child protection system (CPS) in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin in 2016. Specifically, having a recurrent CPS investigation within one year of an index investigation that did not result in an ongoing CPS case is assessed as a function of positive social network ties, negative social network ties, and perceived neighborhood support. Few studies have explored these aspects of social networks comparatively and simultaneously in relation to CPS outcomes, or within this population. We used cluster analysis to identify particular combinations of network characteristics among mothers with recent investigations and then examined whether different cluster types are predictive of recurrent CPS involvement within one year. Clusters differed on the perceived levels of both positive and negative interpersonal ties as well as perceived neighborhood support and were associated with different levels of known child maltreatment risk factors. Clusters with lower levels of perceived neighborhood support were more likely to be associated with future CPS investigations, but this association becomes statistically insignificant when controlling for mothers’ depressive symptoms. The results of this study suggest that a more multi-faceted view of social networks can be helpful to understand the social contexts of mothers as they experience contact with CPS and raises questions about how these contexts interact with parental mental health in relation to CPS recurrence.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number234
JournalSocial Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


  • CPS recurrence
  • mothers
  • perceived neighborhood support
  • social networks


Dive into the research topics of 'Multidimensional Aspects of Social Networks: Implications for CPS Recurrence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this