Methods: We obtained administrative birth records and child protective service (CPS) records for females born in 2000 (N=76,211). Records were probabilistically linked for these sources, where child information from the girls’ birth record was used to identify these same individuals as mothers for births 2012 through 2020. Indicators of alleged maltreatment were identified from CPS records: neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, multiple perpetrators and nonparent perpetrators. These indicators were identified through the course of childhood to model transitions through latent classifications. Classifications were then used to predict distal outcomes, including the likelihood of having a child as a teenager and experiencing an arrest during teenage years.
Results: In California, 30.0% of female children were probabilistically linked to a CPS referral, where 2.0% of these children were linked to an arrest record and 4.5% were linked to a birth as a teen mother. We identified five different classifications of maltreatment through childhood; which children transition into and out of through different age periods. Females with the classification of experiencing multiple types of alleged maltreatment had the highest levels of teen motherhood (10.8%) and arrests (6.7%), followed by the sexual abuse classification (6.4% mothers; 2.6% arrests) and the neglect classification (7.0% mothers; 2.5% arrests). Females with no maltreatment during adolescence had the lowest probabilities of motherhood (2.1%) and arrest (0.6%).
Conclusions and Implications: Childhood maltreatment affects a large subset of the population of female children represented in California administrative data. Classifications of sexual abuse allegations or experiencing numerous allegations for different maltreatment types were shown to be at higher risk for teen motherhood and arrest, while the absence of later maltreatment had a marked decrease risk. These results highlight a need for earlier intervention in order to effectively lower the likelihood of teen pregnancy and delinquency during adolescence.