Session: Estimating the Total Maltreatment Rate in the US: Methodological Innovations and Considerations (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

327 Estimating the Total Maltreatment Rate in the US: Methodological Innovations and Considerations

Sunday, January 20, 2019: 11:30 AM-1:00 PM
Union Square 3/4 Tower 3, 4th Floor (Hilton San Francisco)
Cluster: Child Welfare (CW)
Rebecca Rebbe, MSW, University of Washington, Joseph Mienko, PhD, MSW, University of Washington and John Prindle, PhD, University of Southern California
Despite research identifying the deleterious effects that child maltreatment has on its victims, we do not have a good understanding of the prevalence of child maltreatment in the United States (Drake & Jonson-Reid, 2018). Recent discussions in health and social work literature have focused on using nationally representative data regarding foster care placements and referrals to child protective services (CPS) to develop underestimates of the “true” incidence of child maltreatment. Contrary to conventional wisdom, which suggests maltreatment is a rare event, these estimates have provided evidence using synthetic-cohort strategies that child maltreatment may be quite common when viewed across an entire childhood (Kim, et al., 2017; Wildeman, et al., 2014). Although these estimates have been informative to a national dialogue concerning prevention strategies for child maltreatment, since the estimates are based on the result of an imperfect surveillance system, they are necessarily an underestimate of the true incidence of child maltreatment. Nonetheless, these research approaches have demonstrated the promise of utilizing methodologies traditionally from other fields to better estimate the total maltreatment rate in the United States. The application of various methodologies to the study of child maltreatment may provide more robust information about the actual incidence rate. Understanding this fundamental question of the prevalence of child maltreatment has important implications for policymakers.

This roundtable will bring together researchers who have utilized both federal and state population data sets to conduct analyses using innovative methodological approaches to continue to deepen our understanding of the total maltreatment rate in the United States. Specifically, the participants will discuss the benefits and limitations of methodological approaches such as dynamic generative models, latent transition analysis, and the application of fertility methods from demography. The panelists will facilitate a discussion, with each other and the audience, sharing the findings of their recent analyses, how these findings compare with NCANDS-based synthetic-cohort strategies, challenges that have been encountered, and lessons learned.

Specific topics will include: 1) novel methodological approaches to understanding the total maltreatment rate in the U.S.; 2) the benefits and limitations of adapted methodological approaches; 3) data concerns when conducting this type of research at the state and national level; and 4) the policy implications for the results of this research. Attendees will be encouraged to ask questions throughout the roundtable and participate in discussions.

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