Abstract: Maltreatment Experiences Among Young People Who Had Contact with Child Protective Services and Juvenile Probation (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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Maltreatment Experiences Among Young People Who Had Contact with Child Protective Services and Juvenile Probation

Sunday, January 15, 2023
Valley of the Sun C, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Andrea Eastman, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Denise Herz, PhD, Director, California State University—Los Angeles, School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics, California State University, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Lindsey Palmer, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, The Pennsylvania State University, PA
Jacquelyn McCroskey, DSW, Professor, University of Southern California, CA
Background: Little is understood about the extent to which gender moderates the maltreatment-offending relationship by allegation type. Research has documented the adverse medical and mental health outcomes of child abuse and neglect as well as juvenile justice system involvement. Specifically, allegation type (e.g., neglect, physical, or sexual abuse) has been associated with chronic illness and health care utilization. The current study examined how types of maltreatment allegations differ for young people with CPS-only and dual system (i.e., CPS and juvenile probation) involvement, stratified by boys and girls.

Methods: Linked CPS records (CWS/CMS) and probation records for Los Angeles County (LAC) were used to prospectively follow all children born in 1998 with a history of at least one CPS report and to identify any juvenile probation petitions. Allegation types were documented for young people with CPS only or dual system involvement. Due to the high degree of co-occurring allegation types, allegations were categorized according to the Expanded Hierarchical Type (EHT) classification scheme. The EHT differentiates between single type maltreatment and certain combinations of types of maltreatment found to be common or associated with more deleterious outcomes. The EHT coding scheme categorized allegation types as Neglect and Physical Abuse, Co-Occurring Sexual Abuse (with any other maltreatment type), Neglect Only, Physical Abuse Only, Emotional Abuse Only, and Sexual Abuse Only. All other allegation types were categorized as “Other Maltreatment.” The CPS-only and dual system groups were compared using χ2 analyses to assess differences by allegation type. Additionally, a generalized linear model was constructed to assess the magnitude of the relationship between key variables and dual system involvement.

Results: Two-thirds of young people with dual system involvement experienced two or more allegation types, compared with less than half (47.1%) of young people with only CPS involvement (χ2 (57,275) = 445.75, p<.001). Using the EHT coding scheme we found the most common allegation type for the full population was Neglect Only whereas the most common allegation type among young people with dual system involvement was Neglect Co-Occurring with Physical Abuse. Further, 20.6% of young people with dual system involvement experienced Co-Occurring Sexual Abuse compared with 11.7% of youth with CPS-only involvement. Co-Occurring Sexual Abuse emerged as the greatest predictor of dual system involvement in comparison to emotional abuse only (RR = 4.10; 95% CI =3.09, 5.43; p > .001), and the risk was heightened when restricted to girls (RR = 4.8; 95% CI =2.81, 7.68; p > .001).

Conclusions and Implications: Young people with dual system involvement were more likely to have co-occurring allegation types compared to youth with CPS involvement only. Girls with dual system involvement were at increased risk of co-occurring maltreatment types, and much of the maltreatment was related to sexual abuse. Further, co-occurring maltreatment types designated by the EHT were related to the risk of dual system involvement. This new knowledge should facilitate discussion around gender-responsive services for youth in probation with traumatic sexual experiences and co-occurring maltreatment histories.