Alternative Responses to Child Maltreatment: Findings from NCANDS. Key Findings

07/01/2005

Even though some States have been implementing alternative response systems for several years, no large-scale, multistate, data-based research has been undertaken on the children who have received alternative response as compared with children who have received investigations. Findings from this research show that in some ways these groups are quite similar; however, some differences can be identified. The implications of these findings are discussed below.

This study compared children who were referred to alternative response systems with those referred to traditional investigations in terms of their own characteristics, the circumstances of their reported maltreatment, and their subsequent reports and dispositions.

Figure 1 shows children who were the subject of a report by the type of response that their report received in each of the six States represented in the data set. The number of children who were included in a maltreatment report, as well as the proportion of children who received an alternative response, varied across these States. Kentucky, Missouri, New Jersey, and Oklahoma all had large number of children who were subjects of a maltreatment report (between 60,000 and 80,000), but in Kentucky and Oklahoma, only 27 and 20 percent, respectively, were referred to alternative response, while in Missouri and New Jersey, 64 and 71 percent, respectively were referred to alternative response. Minnesota (26,344) and Wyoming (4,355) had much smaller number of children who were subjects of a report. In Minnesota, 20 percent were referred to alternative response, while in Wyoming, 58 percent were.

Figure 1.
Children in Maltreatment Reports by State, 2002

(n = 318,838)

Figure 1. Children in Maltreatment Reports by State, 2002.

Variation was noteworthy between States and reinforces the need to examine the States separately. Separate case studies for each State, along with data tables, are presented in Appendices AF.

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