Ecologically oriented research has brought into focus a different array of forces that contribute to understanding the regional and local prevalence of maltreatment, including characteristics of local social networks and related culture and values, levels of informal social control, the density of alcohol serving establishments within residents’ local activity spaces, housing quality, the related occurrence of other social issues within neighborhoods, and the strength of interconnections among service systems and with residents in local areas. With broader availability of linked administrative data, increasingly sophisticated and interdisciplinary methods for ecological analysis, and a deepening pool of ecologically-oriented research, opportunities for research/policy/practice collaboration to inform prevention strategies are strong.
This roundtable session will stimulate discussion about how ecologically oriented research related to child maltreatment is currently, and can inform prevention-oriented policy and practice. This will occur by bringing together presenters who will describe ecologically-oriented research utilizing different methodologies and their findings, together with presenters who will reflect on broader practice/policy implications and specific prevention strategies. Specifically, one presenter will discuss neighborhood-oriented research in Los Angeles and San Diego Counties focused on social context and its connections with child maltreatment prevalence. Three presenters will discuss the use of linked administrative data to yield new insights into child maltreatment occurrence, including its connection with local housing quality and constraints on child care choices. Two additional presenters will focus specifically on discussing policy and practice implications of the broader array of ecologically oriented child maltreatment research, including discussing the Needs Portal, a web-based intervention designed to better serve formal and informal needs of families where abuse or neglect has occurred. Our goals with this roundtable are to provide participants with a survey of current ecologically oriented child maltreatment research and to advance the direction and impact of such research by engaging participants in discussion of how the findings from existing work can inform prevention practice and policy, and future research directions. Presenters will emphasize providing concise remarks that facilitate active questions and discussion among roundtable participants.