National Study of Child Protective Services Systems and Reform Efforts. Findings on Local CPS Practices. Responsibility for Different Types of Maltreatment

05/01/2003

Two patterns related to administrative structure emerged when examining CPS agency responsibility for investigations for different types of maltreatment. For certain more serious types of maltreatment, it was considerably less common for agencies in State-administered systems with strong county structure to have lead responsibility compared to agencies in State-administered or county-administered systems. For example, a smaller proportion of agencies in State-administered systems with strong county structure (9%) had lead responsibility for investigating severe physical abuse than did agencies in State-administered systems (33%) or county-administered systems (20%), (Table 7-28). The same pattern emerged for severe and moderate sexual abuse, for child fatalities, for severe and moderate emotional maltreatment, and for risk of emotional maltreatment. For these types of maltreatment, fewer agencies in State-administered systems with strong county had lead responsibility than State- or county-administered agencies.

Table 7-28:
CPS Agencies with Lead Responsibility for Investigation by Maltreatment Type
Type of maltreatment State-administered County-administered State-administered with strong county structure
Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent
Severe physical abusea 360
(250-470)
33% 190
(120-270)
20% 50
(0-90)
9%
Severe sexual abuseb 300
(200-400)
28% 140
(70-200)
15% 40
(0-80)
7%
Moderate sexual abusec 340
(240-440)
31% 170
(100-250)
18% 50
(0-90)
9%
Severe emotional maltreatmenth 770
(610-930)
70% 740
(650-930)
77% 300
(190-420)
56%
Moderate emotional maltreatmenti 770
(630-900)
70% 780
(700-870)
81% 360
(210-520)
66%
At risk of emotional maltreatmentj 750
(610-900)
69% 660
(780-740)
69% 330
(180-480)
60%
Child fatalityd 220
(120-320)
20% 80
(40-120)
9% 20
(0-60)
3%
At risk of physical abusee 840
(670-1,000)
76% 680
(600-760)
70% 460
(280-650)
84%
At risk of neglectf 800
(650-940)
73% 690
(600-760)
72% 400
(240-590)
76%
Status offenseg 60
(10-120)
6% 80
(40-110)
8% 90
(20-170)
17%
a X2=27.59, p<.001
b X2=30.54, p<.001
c X2=20.75, p<.01
d X2=21.96, p<.01
e X2=21.07, p<.01
f X2=19.43, p<.05
g X2=20.84, p<.01
h X2=28.04, p<.001
I X2=25.41, p<.01
j X2=17.0, p<.05
Note: Percentages are not additive because agencies were included in each applicable row (category).
Note: Numbers in italics are based on 10 or fewer agencies.

For other less serious types of maltreatment, agencies operating under State-administered systems with strong county structure more often had lead responsibility. A greater proportion of agencies in State-administered systems with strong county structure had lead responsibility for children at risk for physical abuse (84%), risk of neglect (76%), and status offenses (17%) compared to agencies in State-administered systems (76%, 73%, 6%, respectively) and county-administered systems (70%, 72%, 8%, respectively), (Table 7-28).

The analyses also revealed differences in how CPS agencies shared lead responsibility with law enforcement for different types of maltreatment (Table 7-29). While nearly two-thirds (64%) of CPS agencies in State-administered systems shared lead responsibility with law enforcement for physical abuse, the percentages were even higher for CPS agencies with other administrative structures. Seventy-four percent of CPS agencies in county-administered systems and 84 percent of CPS agencies in State-administered systems with strong county structure shared lead responsibility with law enforcement when the allegation involved physical abuse. A similar pattern is seen for sexual abuse, with fewer agencies in State-administered systems sharing lead responsibility with law enforcement (62%) and more agencies in county-administered systems (74%) and in State-administered systems with strong county structure (78%) doing so. The differences by administrative structure are even more pronounced for neglect. Fewer than one-half (49%) of CPS agencies in State-administered systems shared lead responsibility with law enforcement for neglect. This compares to 59 percent of CPS agencies in county-administered systems and 74 percent of agencies in State-administered systems with strong county structure.

Table 7-29:
CPS Agencies that Shared Lead Responsibility with Law Enforcement by Maltreatment Type
Type of maltreatment State-administered County-administered State-administered with strong county structure
Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent Estimate
(C.I.)
Percent
Physical abusea 700
(580-820)
64% 710
(640-790)
74% 460
(280-650)
84%
Sexual abuseb 680
(560-800)
62% 710
(630-790)
74% 430
(250-600)
78%
Neglectc 530
(430-630)
49% 570
(490-660)
59% 410
(240-570)
74%
a X2=9.65, p<.001
b X2=6.06, p<.05
c X2=9.16, p<.01
Note: Percentages are not additive because agencies were included in each applicable row (category).
Note: Numbers in italics are based on 10 or fewer agencies.