Report to the Congress on the Feasibility of Creating and Maintaining a National Registry of Child Maltreatment Perpetrators. How much would it cost to establish and maintain a national registry of child maltreatment perpetrators?

09/01/2012

We estimate that developing, implementing and maintaining a national registry of child maltreatment perpetrators would involve the following costs. These are preliminary, ballpark estimates. Actual costs would depend on a variety of factors that are not laid out clearly in the authorizing legislation.

Table 1. Costs of Developing, Implementing and Maintaining
A National Registry of Child Maltreatment Perpetrators
DESCRIPTION ESTIMATED COST
Federal costs of developing and implementing the database of child maltreatment perpetrators $4 million over 2 to 3 years
Grants to states to defray initial implementation costs (e.g. preparing data, ensuring security of information exchanged) $10 to 20 million over 2 to 3 years
Annual costs of maintaining the database, including responding to states' database queries $4 to 6 million
Annual cost to states of resolving potential false positive matches and responding to requests for more detailed information Unknown
Costs to states that need to change the level of proof required for substantiation decisions or otherwise alter their due process procedures conform to standards for a national registry Unknown

Decisions regarding implementation of a national registry of child maltreatment perpetrators should consider both the costs and the potential benefits in deciding whether to move forward. A consideration of benefits should also recognize that in some cases the matches produced by a registry would not be "new" identifications, but rather perpetrators who would already have been identified through existing criminal background checks.

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