Assessing the Feasibility of Creating and Maintaining a National Registry of Child Maltreatment Perpetrators: Research Report. 1.3 OVERVIEW OF THE METHODS FOR THIS STUDY

09/01/2012

A key informant survey (Survey) and a prevalence study were conducted to address the knowledge gaps identified in the Interim Report. States were invited to participate in both the Survey and the Prevalence Study.

The Survey was composed of three separate questionnaires. The focus of the "Current Legal and Policy Requirements Regarding Sharing Information on Child Maltreatment Perpetrators Questionnaire" (Legal/Policy Questionnaire) was on the existing legal and/or written policy requirements regarding maintaining and sharing information on child maltreatment perpetrators and due process protections for such persons. The "Current Practices on Sharing Information on Child Maltreatment Perpetrators Questionnaire" (Current Practices Questionnaire) focused on practices in sharing perpetrator information with, and requesting information on child maltreatment perpetrators from other States. The "Technical Information on Data Repositories of Child Maltreatment Perpetrators Questionnaire" (Technical Information Questionnaire) focused on technical issues related to the structure, content, and accuracy of existing data repositories. In addition, in all three questionnaires, respondents were asked about perceived benefits of and barriers to participating in a national registry, and whether they felt that the benefits would outweigh the problems. See appendix A for the questionnaires. The questionnaires were Web-based and self-administered using Survey Monkey™.

The prevalence study combined data from individual records from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) with name and date of birth information supplied by participating States in order to identify perpetrators who had been substantiated in more than one State. Last names were encoded to guard confidentiality and to facilitate the matching process. These matches were used to develop national estimates of interstate perpetrators, and to examine a limited set of their characteristics that are relevant for the feasibility study. National estimates were produced using a model that combines these matching results with the U.S. Census Bureau's (Census) interstate migration estimates. The matching process was also used to shed light on the type of information that would be needed in a national registry to support accurate matching. See appendices B and C for further details on the prevalence study.

State Child Welfare agencies for all States were recruited to participate in both components of the study over a 3-month period in the spring and early summer of 2011. A total of 38 States representing 84% of the U.S. population participated in one or more of the Survey questionnaires. Most responded to all three questionnaires, and 36 States (though not always the same States) participated in each individual survey. For selected questions in the Legal/Policy Questionnaire, data for nonparticipating States were added based on a review of current State laws. As a result, some results from the Legal/Policy Questionnaire are based on 36 States, while others are based on information from all 52 States. Twenty-two States, representing 55 percent of the total U.S. population, supplied the data needed for the prevalence study. Figure 1 below provides a map of participants for both the Survey and the prevalence study. (See table 1.)

 

Figure 1: Registry Study Participation
Figure 1: Registry Study Participation

 

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