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.