Purpose: To determine whether young children involved with child welfare (CW) have gross motor (GM) delay; to examine relationships between GM skills and the influence of multiple factors on GM skills.
Methods: One hundred seventy-six children involved with CW received GM assessment, physical examinations, and caseworker interviews. Descriptive statistics, correlations, t tests, analysis of variance and covariance, and multiple regression analyses were completed.
Results: GM scores, lower than population norms, were associated with growth parameters. Children in kinship care had significantly higher GM scores compared with children in foster care and those with in-home protective services when adjusted for differences in time in CW. Abuse/neglect, medical neglect, and parental substance abuse produced lower scores; referral for abandonment produced higher scores. Age was most strongly related to GM outcome, with multiple regression explaining 19% of GM variance.
Conclusion: Children involved with CW have lower mean GM scores than population norms. Several factors specific to CW experiences may influence GM outcome.