Methods: Data were extracted for all first time reports of maltreatment substantiated between 2009 and 2013 (N = 23,704). Reports in the observation period that involved re-referrals for either (alleged) perpetrators or children were excluded. Bivariate tests of association were used to compare substantiated reports that involved CEDV to those that did not. A multilevel logistic regression model was then fit to determine the adjusted odds that a CEDV-related report would be opened for services, and derive corresponding predicted probabilities of this occurrence.
Results: Of the 23,704 reports substantiated during the observation period, approximately 19% (N = 4,452) were CEDV-related. CEDV-related reports were more likely to include substantiated allegations of failure to protect and threatened harm, and less likely to include substantiated allegations of physical abuse and sexual abuse. Among CEDV-related reports, just under 24% (N = 1,061) were opened for ongoing child welfare services. Of the fifteen most prevalent patterns of maltreatment, CEDV-related reports in which physical neglect, substance abuse, and threatened harm were all substantiated had the highest probability of being opened for services (51.9%), while CEDV-related reports involving threatened harm alone were the least likely to result in a case opening (10.7%).
Conclusions and Implications: Results indicated that a significant portion of substantiated maltreatment reports involved harm or threatened harm caused by CEDV. Important patterns were also observed with respect to specific types of associated maltreatment. For example, while child welfare workers were more likely to substantiate allegations of failure to protect and threatened harm in connection with CEDV, these types of maltreatment were less frequently associated with a formal case opening. Cases most likely to be opened for services involved concurrent substance use, suggesting that families contending with multiple psychosocial problems are most likely to formally enter the child welfare system. Administrators should therefore be cognizant that child welfare-involved families experiencing domestic violence are more likely to present at intake with a set of complex service needs.