|This Research Brief presents key findings from a longitudinal analysis of child abuse reporting data, derived from nine states’ submissions to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) for 1998 - 2002. The study focuses on “rereporting,” when individual children have been the subject of more than one maltreatment investigation; and “recurrence,” referring to children who have been victimized more than once. Reducing recurrence is a key safety goal of child protective services systems. Until recently, however, it has been impossible to analyze federal child abuse data across multiple years. The analysis described here was conducted bystaff ofWalter R. McDonald and Associates under contract to ASPE and in cooperation with the Administration for Children and Families.
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
Office of Human Services Policy
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Washington, DC 20201
Michael J. O’Grady, Ph.D.
Barbara B. Broman
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for
Human Services Policy
Most children who are subjects of a report of maltreatment to the State or local child protective services (CPS) agency are involved just once with CPS during their lives. Other children are referred more than once and their referrals result in repeated investigations or assessments (known in the field as rereporting). Some children who are once found to be victims of child maltreatment (i.e. an investigation confirms the allegation of abuse or neglect) are found to have been revictimized (known as recurrence). This paper focuses on rereporting and recurrence, and on gaining a better understanding of the circumstances surrounding children who have repeated involvement with CPS. Most previous studies of subsequent reports alleging maltreatment of the same child or of revictimization have included only small populations, data from a single State, or relatively short observation periods. This study follows children who are the subject of an initial, report of child maltreatment for up to 5 years, using a multiyear, multistate case-level data set derived from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS). Most analyses use data from 9 states spanning the period from 1998 to 2002.
Table 1 shows the cumulative percentage of children who experience at least one subsequent maltreatment report or victimization after an initial maltreatment incident. Other key findings follow.
Cumulative Percentage of Children with Subsequent Reports or Revictimizations
||Cumulative Percent of Children Rereported
(n=1,396,998 reported children)
|Cumulative Percent of Children Revictimized