Assessing the Feasibility of Creating and Maintaining a National Registry of Child Maltreatment Perpetrators: Research Report. 1.2 KEY FINDINGS FROM THE INTERIM REPORT

09/01/2012

An initial feasibility assessment was conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE). The initial study resulted in The Interim Report to the Congress on the Feasibility of a National Child Abuse Registry (Interim Report). The report was submitted to Congress in May 2009. Based on the review conducted, ASPE determined that there are "very substantial challenges involved in establishing a national child abuse registry" and that additional study was required to address several gaps in knowledge.[17] The report identified the following gaps:

  1. The potential benefits of a national child abuse registry are largely unknown. A prevalence study to determine the frequency with which child maltreatment perpetrators offend in multiple States must be conducted to assess the potential benefits.
  2. It is unclear whether States would be willing to provide data to a national child abuse registry without incentives to encourage participation and without consequences for declining. States' interest in participating in a national child abuse registry and the factors that may both foster and hinder participation must be assessed given that submission of data would be voluntary.
  3. With respect to a due process procedure, "there can be no federal substitute for procedural protections at the State or local level." The due process procedures currently provided by States must be examined to inform the development of recommendations for Federal due process protections that would pertain to a national child abuse registry.
  4. The Adam Walsh Act limits case-specific information in a national child abuse registry to the perpetrator's name and type of maltreatment. Given that many names are common, additional fields are required to determine whether or not there is a match between the individual about whom an inquiry is made and a perpetrator listed in a national child abuse registry. Therefore, a review of the structure, file layout, and data standards comprising State child maltreatment registries must be conducted in order make recommendations for requirements to ensure the collection of sufficient information to accurately identify perpetrators.

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