Identifying Opportunities to Prevent Child Maltreatment in the Health and Social Services Systems

Child abuse and neglect affects over six million U.S. children per year. However, preventing child maltreatment and its poor outcomes is challenging due to lack of timely identification of children at risk. We lack a clear understanding of the types of interactions that at-risk children and their families have with professionals who could recognize risk factors and direct families to resources to help prevent child maltreatment.

Solution
The goal of this study is to analyze how children with documented maltreatment have interacted with the healthcare system and local agencies prior to their referral to social services and/or law enforcement.

Impact
The study hopes to reveal patterns of interactions with health and social services that could assist with the prospective and early identification of children at risk of maltreatment, facilitate determination of those child- and family-level factors associated with different forms of maltreatment, and enable evaluation of how children who have experienced maltreatment are cared for by the health and social services systems.