Data on Health and Well-being of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Other Native Americans, Data Catalog

National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS)

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Sponsor: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)/Administration on Children and Families (ACF)/Children’s Bureau
Description: The National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) is a federally sponsored national data collection effort created for the purpose of tracking the volume and nature of child maltreatment reporting each year within the United States. The NCANDS Child File consists of child-specific data of all investigated reports of maltreatment to state child protective service agencies. Child File data are collected annually through the voluntary participation of states. Participating states submit their data after going through a process in which the state’s administrative data system is mapped to the NCANDS data structure. Data elements include the demographics of children and their perpetrators, types of maltreatment, investigation or assessment dispositions, risk factors, and services provided as a result of the investigation or assessment.
Relevant Policy Issues: Measures of Well-being for Children, Child Maltreatment Rates.
Data Type(s): Registry
Unit of Analysis: The unit of observation in the Child File includes report-level data for all children who have received a disposition of an investigation or assessment of allegations of maltreatment during the reporting year. Each child on a report gets a separate data record, referred to as a “report-child pair.” As a child may be in the data file multiple times, there is a unique identifier assigned to each child.
Identification of AI/AN/NA: Race is coded by the state agency submitting the data to NCANDS. Beginning with the year 2000, the agency was allowed to select more than one race for a child. Each of the five race variables are independent (White, African American, American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN), Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander (NH/PI), and Asian), so an individual may have more than one race variable coded as true.

The directions for coding a child as American Indian or Alaska Native are: A child having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment.

The directions for coding a child as Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander are: A child having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.

If there are a very small number of records at the county level for a particular race, the race information is recoded to unknown.

AI/AN/NA Population in Data Set: The 2004 data set consists of 3,134,026 total records (report-child pairs) from 44 states and the District of Columbia (DC).

Counts of distinct children by race in the 2004 NCANDS data file:
AI/AN: 46,708
NH/PI: 11,700

Counts of distinct perpetrators by race in the 2004 NCANDS data file:
AI/AN: 6,294
NH/PI: 2,091

The 2003 data set consists of 1,216,626 total records (report-child pairs) from 22 states and DC.

Counts of distinct children by race in the 2003 NCANDS data file:
AI/AN: 22,228
NH/PI: 3,400

Counts of distinct perpetrators by race in the 2003 NCANDS data file:
AI/AN: 3,740
NH/PI: 653

Geographic Scope: Forty-four states and DC voluntarily submitted data to the NCANDS Child File for 2004. States that did not submit data for 2004 are Alaska, Alabama, Georgia, North Dakota, Oregon, and Wisconsin.

In 2003, only twenty-two states and DC agreed to archive their NCANDS Child File data with the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect (NDACAN). States that submitted data in 2003 are Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wyoming.

In addition to the state indicator, the child data file also includes the Federal FIPS Code for the county where the report was made for counties with more than 1,000 records in the data file. For all records, the child’s county of residence is removed from the data file because of confidentiality concerns.

Date or Frequency: The most recent available data are for Federal Fiscal Year 2004. NCANDS data have been collected annually since 1990. For 1990 through 2002, annual data sets are for calendar years. Beginning with the 2003 data set, the collection period is Federal Fiscal Year.
Data Collection Methodology: Reports of child maltreatment are received by state agencies that administer social services. A single report may contain information about multiple children, multiple abuse types (e.g., physical, sexual, neglect), and multiple perpetrators. The agency investigates the report and a decision is made regarding each report/child/instance. If the abuse is corroborated by evidence, the report/child/instance is coded as “substantiated” (states vary as to what word they use for this concept). If there is not sufficient corroboration, the instance is not coded as substantiated. Both substantiated and unsubstantiated cases are included in NCANDS. For unsubstantiated cases, no information is collected about the perpetrator. For substantiated cases, the gender, race, relationship to child, and other information is collected about the perpetrator or perpetrators.

State participation in the detailed case data collection consists of mapping each requested data element into the Child File record layout, extracting the state data into the Child File record layout, and submitting the case level data to NCANDS.

Participation: Optional without incentives.
Sampling Methodology: The NCANDS Child File represents a census of all child protective services investigations or assessments conducted in the states that participated in the NCANDS.
Authorization: The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) was amended in 1988 to direct the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to establish a national data collection and analysis program that would make available state child abuse and neglect reporting information (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.; 42 U.S.C. 5116 et seq., Public Law 100-294 passed April 25, 1988). DHHS responded by establishing NCANDS as a voluntary, national reporting system.
Strengths: Data sets contain a large number of AI/AN/NA respondents. Data are collected on a key policy issue, child welfare. There are multiple years of data available.
Limitations: As states are not required to submit data to NCANDS, some states do not participate. Coverage has improved from 2003 (22 states and DC submitting) to 2004 (44 states and DC submitting).

When conducting analyses with NCANDS data, it is important to keep in mind that state-to-state variation in child maltreatment laws and information systems may affect the interpretation of the data. Users are encouraged to refer to the state mapping documents included on the data CD for information about how the state’s system codes its data.

Access Requirements and Use Restrictions: Restricted usage files of state report-level data are available for researchers from the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect at www.ndacan.cornell.edu. Researchers who would like to use the data must fulfill eligibility criteria, submit an application for approval to the Archive, and enter into a legally-binding data license that outlines the requirements for appropriate use of the data. Only individuals holding a faculty appointment or research position at an institution of higher education, a research organization, or a government agency are eligible to obtain the Child File. There is no cost for access to these data.
Contact Information: National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect
Beebe Hall – FLDC
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York 14853-4401
(607) 255-7799
ndacan@cornell.edu
www.ndacan.cornell.edu


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