Assessing the Feasibility of Creating and Maintaining a National Registry of Child Maltreatment Perpetrators: Research Report. 5.3 STATE INTEREST AND BARRIERS TO PARTICIPATION

09/01/2012

There appears to be significant interest in a national registry, primarily because States already have to inquire about possible prior perpetrator status from multiple States. The current processes are labor intensive, time consuming, and not conducted systematically. They also rely upon self-reporting of prior residences.

This interest is seriously tempered, however, by concerns that may take some time to address. These concerns include, but are not limited to those listed below.

  • Accuracy of the data—While it is a concern of States submitting data, that the data be accurate to avoid risk of inappropriate listing of a person, this concern is of equal importance to those retrieving data from a national registry. Large numbers of false positives (wrongly identifying someone as a perpetrator) and false negatives (failing to identify a substantiated perpetrator from another State) could have significant impact upon the work of an agency.
  • Comprehensiveness of the data—It is unclear whether States would participate if a critical mass of States is not achieved relatively quickly. The return on the upfront investment of a State to submit data would need to be balanced by the utility of the system to the work force.
  • Resource support—The degree to which States would receive financial and technical support will clearly influence initial decisions to participate or not.

Although multiple mentions were made by State respondents to the key informant survey about the differences in taxonomies of maltreatment and levels of evidence that would warrant attention by each State, this did not seem to be a major barrier to participating, primarily because the States already operate in this environment. Nevertheless, any further exploration in terms of designing a system would want to establish as much common ground as possible in order that both those who submit data and those who inquire about data are fully cognizant of any data limitations and have access to persons who would be able to provide additional information.

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