Trajectories of Maltreatment Re-Reports From Ages 4 to 12: Evidence for Persistent Risk After Early Exposure
PublisherSAGE Publications Inc.
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AbstractThis study identified trajectories of maltreatment re-reports between ages 4 and 12 for children first referred to Child Protective Services (CPS) for maltreatment prior to age 4 and either removed from the home or assessed by a CPS intake worker as moderately or highly likely to be abused/neglected in the future, absent intervention. Participants (n = 501) were children from the Southwest and Northwest sites of the Consortium for Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN). During the 8-year follow-up period, 67% of children were re-reported. Growth mixture modeling identified four trajectory classes: No re-report (33%), Continuous re-reports (10%), Intermittent re-reports (37%), and Early re-reports (20%). Membership in classes with relatively more re-reports was predicted by several factors assessed at age 4, including physical abuse; living with a biological/stepparent; caregiver alcohol abuse, depression, and lack of social support; receipt of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC); and number of children in the home. For a subpopulation of high-risk children first reported in early childhood, risk for maltreatment re-reporting may persist longer than previously documented, continuing 8 to 12 years after the first report. Copyright The Author(s) 2012.
SponsorsUnderstanding and predicting developmental trajectories of maltreatment re-reports is particularly urgent for children whose first report occurred at a young age, as they face the greatest risk both of re-report and of developmental problems. The fundamental usefulness of GMM and other techniques for modeling heterogeneity is to identify unobserved subpopulations whose existence has important implications for practice and policy. In this case, the identification of subpopulations of children who experience the persistence of re-reports over a period of 8 years provides critical information regarding the types of long-term maltreatment patterns that are occurring among CPS-involved families. The results of our GMM analysis suggest that the overall rates of re-reporting, which decline with time from the index report, mask the existence of subgroups of children who experience persistent re-reports. Future research with children who experience trajectories indicating more persistent re-reporting risk can inform and improve efforts to promote their safety and well-being. With regard to potential targets of intervention, the present results support a relationship between modifiable characteristics of the caregiving environment (e.g., caregiver alcohol abuse, depression, and lack of social support) and subsequent risk of maltreatment re-reports. Policy and interventions that target these factors may decrease children�s risk of future re-reports. The present findings also extend the results of prior research on re-reporting of reunified children. While living with a biological/stepparent increased the risk of re-reports, children in other placement types (i.e., adoption, kinship care, and nonkin foster care) were also at risk. Prior research has provided some evidence that home-based services may reduce re-reporting risk even for the most chronic cases ( Chaffin, Bard, Hecht, & Silovsky, 2011 ; Jonson-Reid, Chung, et al., 2010). Our findings suggest that for children first reported in early childhood, re-reporting may continue 8 to 12 years after the first report. This suggests that further work is needed to effectively intervene with families at high risk of persistent reports of suspected maltreatment. Designing and delivering effective services with children and families at high risk for chronic re-reporting is critical for addressing the financial and human costs incurred by early-onset, persistent maltreatment. A better understanding of early risks and potential developmental pathways experienced by these children can help to identify and implement strategies to minimize adverse outcomes as a result of early maltreatment. The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by K01DA21674 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to Laura J. Proctor; grants from the Office of Child Abuse and Neglect, Administration for Children, Youth, and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to the Consortium of Longitudinal Studies on Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN); and R01MH072961 to Gregory A. Aarons.
Identifier to cite or link to this itemhttps://www.scopus.com/inward/record.uri?eid=2-s2.0-84866380637&doi=10.1177%2f1077559512448472&partnerID=40&md5=cf544e568aa45131266f010dcb5fe4b1; http://hdl.handle.net/10713/11837
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