Alternative Responses to Child Maltreatment: Findings from NCANDS. Data Construction

07/01/2005

Data from six States  Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey,(2) Oklahoma, and Wyoming  including 313,838 reported children, were used to create the data set for this research. These States were chosen because case-level data, including alternative response dispositions, were provided in sufficient numbers.(3)

The NCANDS Child Files from each State were used to create the data set. These files contain a record for each child in a report alleging child maltreatment. This is referred to as a report-child pair, indicating that a child is counted each time he or she is the subject of a maltreatment report that is investigated or assessed.

Several new variables were derived, and some were recoded into categorical variables, including:

  • Response Type  The report disposition was used to create a new variable, called response type. Reports with dispositions of substantiated, indicated, unsubstantiated, or closed with no finding were coded as investigation response. Dispositions of alternative response  victim and alternative response  nonvictim were coded as alternative response. All other dispositions were coded as other response; these cases were later excluded from analyses.(4)
  • Maltreatment Type  For each report-child pair, up to four maltreatment types can be reported in the Child File. These were recoded to mutually exclusive categories: physical abuse only, neglect or medical neglect only, sexual abuse only, emotional or other abuse only, and multiple maltreatment.
  • Age of Victims  The age of victims was recoded into categories. The categories for age were: younger than age 1, age 13, age 47, age 811, age 1215, and age 16 or older.
  • Services  The Child File includes data on what services were provided.(5) All of these services were combined into in-home services. Foster care was considered and analyzed separately.

The final data set was composed of 313,838 children in 6 States.(6) Because of the major differences as noted above in the literature review in State policy and implementation, and the level of use of alternative response as reported to NCANDS, data from each State were each analyzed separately.

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