Abstract: Child Abuse and Neglect Re-Report Rates for Young Children with Developmental Delays (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

Child Abuse and Neglect Re-Report Rates for Young Children with Developmental Delays

Friday, January 18, 2019: 6:45 PM
Union Square 16 Tower 3, 4th Floor (Hilton San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Judith L. Perrigo, MSW, PhD Student, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Julie A. Cederbaum, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Southern California
Michael S. Hurlburt, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Southern California
Lauren D. Berkovits, PhD, Postdoctoral Psychology Fellow, Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Marian E. Williams, PhD, Associate Professor, Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Background and Purpose: Four million child abuse and neglect (CAN) reports to child protective services (CPS) were recorded in 2017, with children aged birth to 5 years old and those with developmental delays and disabilities being at greatest risk for maltreatment. Previous research has demonstrated that a single CAN report is the strongest independent risk factor for a re-report, and up to 60% of children are re-reported within 5 years, with an average of 12 months between the first and second report. Children with developmental delays may be at elevated risk for re-reports due to family stressors, natural surveillance by service providers, and systemic factors. Thus, the current study’s objective was to examine the likelihood and magnitude of CAN re-reports for young children with delays in cognitive, language, and adaptive development, compared to typically developing children. The authors hypothesized that children with delays would experience higher rates of CAN re-reports when compared to children without delays.

Methods:  Participants (n=2,647) were a subsample of children (0-71 months) from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW II), a public, nationally representative, and longitudinal survey. The authors used the NSCAW II to examine CAN re-reports at two follow-up waves, 18- and 36-months post baseline assessments for children with and without delays. Developmental delay measures included the Preschool Language Scale-3 (PLS-3), Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale, Battelle Developmental Inventory (BDI-2), and the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (K-BIT). The following demographic variables were also included in these analyses: (1) children’s placement type; (2) sex; (3) race/ethnicity; (4) alleged type of maltreatment; (5) existence of a prior CPS report; (6) socioeconomic status; (7) status of current CPS report; and (8) neighborhood setting. Analyses primarily used descriptive statistics, Chi-square tests, and logistic regression models. Logistic regression models were employed to determine the correlation between number of developmental delays and a CAN re-report at waves 2 and 3 while controlling for the demographic variables.

Results:  Children had a mean age of 35.69 months and were ethnically diverse, 27.84% Hispanic, 24.45% Black, and 39.48% White. Approximately half had a prior CAN report (46.61%) and the most common alleged maltreatment type was neglect (31.67%). Majority lived in urban settings (76.38%), were placed in-home with their parents (87.72%), and had unsubstantiated CAN reports (71.44%). 15.34% of children had one delay and 2.69% had delays in three or more domains of development. Chi-square analyses revealed that males were more likely than females to exhibit delays across all areas of development. Logistic modeling determined that children with three or more domains of delays were 4.73 times more likely than children without developmental delays to be re-reported to CPS at wave 2 and there was a non-significant trend in the same direction for wave 3. 

Conclusions and Implications:  In this study, children with multiple developmental delays have elevated rates of CAN re-reports when compared to typically developing children. Allocation of child welfare resources should include strategies for preventing maltreatment risk among children with developmental delays.