CAPTA and IDEA recognize that child maltreatment signals a substantial risk to the development of children. Their requirements call for action to address the developmental problems of children substantiated for maltreatment. Together, these Acts generate a clear expectation for efforts to mitigate the developmental harms of maltreatment.
This study confirms that the level of risk for developmental delay is high for maltreated children and that it remains high, years after the initial maltreatment. The rates of developmental and behavioral problems are well above those in the general population and the rates of environmental risk and serious problems within the dyadic relationship between child and caregiver are above those of children typically encountered by Part C service providers.
The implementation of successful services for maltreated infants is clearly complicated and, according to experts, unfulfilled. Both of these programs-Child Welfare Services and Part C Services-must now meet the requirements of their governing legislation, with no explicit authorization of funds to support implementation. The findings of this report call for further review of effective strategies and consideration of new efforts, and related research, to implement these innovative policies. This research should involve rigorously conducted evaluations of best practice models so that the knowledge gained from these evaluations can add measurably to the information provided by the surveys upon which this study was based.