Developmental Status and Early Intervention Service Needs of Maltreated Children. Classification of children in this study

In order to describe the developmental characteristics of maltreated infants and toddlers, children were classified into one of three mutually exclusive groups called Developmental and Risk Indicator Groups (DRIGs) for this study. The Measured Delay[1] group consisted of those who had a measured delay on one or more developmental measure. These children were subject to a varying number of risk factors. This category also included a small proportion of children with an established risk condition (e.g. conditions associated with developmental delay such as deafness, blindness, cerebral palsy) which made them eligible for Part C services regardless of measured delay, however almost all of the children with an established risk condition also had a measured delay. A second group, the High Risk group, consisted of children who had at least five risk factors associated with developmental problems (e.g., poverty level, active domestic violence, substance abuse), but no measured delay.[2]  All children in NSCAW had at least one risk factor  a maltreatment experience. The final group, the Lower Risk group, had fewer than five risk factors and no measured delay. The groups are mutually exclusive so a child with a measured delay was in that group regardless of the number of risk factors they experienced.

Two kinds of analyses were conducted. Descriptive analyses examined how many children in each child welfare setting would fall into the Measured Delay, High Risk, or Lower Risk groups. A second set of analyses used regression modeling to identify what child, parent, household, or case characteristics were associated with receipt of services or a change in DRIG grouping, for example.



[1] Italicized words or phrases have a specific meaning in this report and are defined in Appendix A.

[2]  The 10 risk factors considered in addition to maltreatment are caregiver mental health problem, non-white racial status, low caregiver education, single caregiver, biomedical risk condition, poverty, teen-aged caregiver, domestic violence, 4 or more children in the home, and caregiver substance abuse. Each was selected based on our review of classic works on the impact of cumulative risk on developmental outcomes (e.g., Sameroff, 1998). Individually any of these factors may not be predictive of poor developmental outcomes, but the exposure to multiple risk factors increases the likelihood.

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