Methods: This study uses population-based California vital birth records linked to CPS administrative records to prospectively follow children born in 2000 through age 18. Differences across birth and maternal characteristics of children who were (i) never been reported to CPS, (ii) were reported for allegations of neglect only, (iii) were reported for allegations of abuse only, and (iv) were reported for allegations of neglect and abuse were examined using chi square tests. Next, a multinomial logistic regression model was used to identify predictors of reports for abuse, neglect or both.
Results: Overall, 24% of CA children were reported to CPS for allegations of neglect during childhood. All children reported were more likely to have been born into socioeconomically disadvantaged environments (public health insurance coverage, no established paternity on the birth certificate, no maternal high school diploma), however, the degree to which each of these factors increased risk of report differed by maltreatment group. Children born to mothers with no high school diploma, born with public health insurance coverage and born with no established paternity were at greatest risk for reports of neglect.
Conclusions and Implications: Given that childhood neglect is the most frequently reported type of maltreatment and can have severe and long-lasting consequences to a child’s health and wellbeing, understanding the lifetime risk and sociodemographic predictors can aid our ability to identify the needs of these families before they come into contact with CPS.