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Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) List Serve

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Message ID: 8272
Date: 2009-09-22

Author:Williams, Crystalle

Subject:RE: indicated reports vs unfounded reports

The North Carolina Structured Family Risk Assessment of Abuse/Neglect also counts the number of reports, not substantiations or findings of "Services Not Recommended," that have ever been made in regards to the children in the family, to determine the likelihood of risk. Additionally, there is another item on the tool that asks how many of those reported cases were substantiated or found to be "in need of services," or those when out-of-home placement was necessary. So, both- number reports made and actual findings- are considered in the overall level of risk to the children. To respond to your question about vulnerability, I think that in some cases, children are just as vulnerable when there is a history of unfounded reports. Social workers, of course, don't know this at the time; they go on the information gathered during the CPS Assessment. For example, when we assess reports involving domestic violence or substance abuse, it is common for a report to be unsubstantiated or found to not need services due to the secrecy, denial, and fear involved for all family members, but that doesn't mean that the children are not at risk, and may be hurt later. If the actual safety factors are not revealed during the assessment, then it is possible for us to miss it, therefore unknowingly leaving a vulnerable child at risk. Crystalle Williams, MSW NC Division of Social Services Staff Development Team Child Welfare Section 704-399-8160 crystalle.williams@dhhs.nc.gov -----Original Message----- From: bounce-4313607-9669498@list.cornell.edu [mailto:bounce-4313607-9669498@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of dfmcmahon1@msn.com Sent: Thursday, September 17, 2009 7:38 PM To: Child Maltreatment Researchers Cc: owen.goldin@marquette.edu Subject: Re: indicated reports vs unfounded reports My post was brief but a lot of lurking considerations which might boil down thus: confounding factors that increase the likelihood of being the subject of a report--these might be "demographic factors," community/neighborhood factors, and others--and is the confounding effect multiplied by each subsequent report, whether indicated or not, with the number of prior reports becoming an additional confounding factor I think it is always important to consider whether one is understanding "substantiation" as an entity in itself (which is inherently part artifact) vs substantiation understood to represent ("indicate") an independent entity/actuality (keeping in mind that statistical conclusions are always understood to be approximations of an essentially unknowable actuality. . . and no, this is not merely a philosophical reflection). So, by "risk" does one mean risk of maltreatment (actual independent reality) or risk of being the subject of "indicated" or "substantiated" maltreatment? (To the extent "philosophical reflections" are contemplated in this field, they seem to be restricted to ethics/ political philosophy considerations, but underneath there are, well, epistemological issues--with real moral, political, etc impact on real individuals) Sheri McMahon -------------------------------------------------- From: "Rhenda Hodnett" Sent: Wednesday, September 16, 2009 8:11 AM To: "Child Maltreatment Researchers" Subject: Re: indicated reports vs unfounded reports > This line of thinking would also be supported by the Structured Decision > Making risk assessment (which we are using in Louisiana) since unfounded > reports are counted as well in determining risk level for future > maltreatment. > > Rhenda H. Hodnett, MSW, LCSW > Director Prevention & Protection Services > DSS/Office of Community Services > 627 N. Fourth Street, P. O. Box 3318 > Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70821 > 225-342-4013 > rhodnett@dss.state.la.us > > >>>> 09/15/09 10:00 PM >>> > Immediate thought: > Existence of previous reports is considered a risk factor, whether > formally or as something that tends to influence the person making the > risk determination. > Sheri McMahon > > > From: Todd McDonald > Sent: Tuesday, September 15, 2009 4:48 PM > To: Child Maltreatment Researchers > Subject: indicated reports vs unfounded reports > > > Dear list members. Does anyone know if unfounded cases of abuse or > neglect are as at risk for problems down the road compared with indicated > cases? Are these children just as vulnerable? > > Todd > > > > > > ________________________________ Email correspondence to and from this address is subject to the North Carolina Public Records Law and may be disclosed to third parties by an authorized State official. Unauthorized disclosure of juvenile, health, legally privileged, or otherwise confidential information, including confidential information relating to an ongoing State procurement effort, is prohibited by law. If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately and delete all records of this e-mail.

The North Carolina Structured Family Risk Assessment of Abuse/Neglect also counts the number of reports, not substantiations or findings of "Services Not Recommended," that have ever been made in regards to the children in the family, to determine the likelihood of risk. Additionally, there is another item on the tool that asks how many of those reported cases were substantiated or found to be "in need of services," or those when out-of-home placement was necessary. So, both- number reports made and actual findings- are considered in the overall level of risk to the children. To respond to your question about vulnerability, I think that in some cases, children are just as vulnerable when there is a history of unfounded reports. Social workers, of course, don't know this at the time; they go on the information gathered during the CPS Assessment. For example, when we assess reports involving domestic violence or substance abuse, it is common for a report to be unsubstantiated or found to not need services due to the secrecy, denial, and fear involved for all family members, but that doesn't mean that the children are not at risk, and may be hurt later. If the actual safety factors are not revealed during the assessment, then it is possible for us to miss it, therefore unknowingly leaving a vulnerable child at risk. Crystalle Williams, MSW NC Division of Social Services Staff Development Team Child Welfare Section 704-399-8160 crystalle.williamsdhhs.nc.gov -----Original Message----- From: bounce-4313607-9669498list.cornell.edu [mailto:bounce-4313607-9669498list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of dfmcmahon1msn.com Sent: Thursday, September 17, 2009 7:38 PM To: Child Maltreatment Researchers Cc: owen.goldinmarquette.edu Subject: Re: indicated reports vs unfounded reports My post was brief but a lot of lurking considerations which might boil down thus: confounding factors that increase the likelihood of being the subject of a report--these might be "demographic factors," community/neighborhood factors, and others--and is the confounding effect multiplied by each subsequent report, whether indicated or not, with the number of prior reports becoming an additional confounding factor I think it is always important to consider whether one is understanding "substantiation" as an entity in itself (which is inherently part artifact) vs substantiation understood to represent ("indicate") an independent entity/actuality (keeping in mind that statistical conclusions are always understood to be approximations of an essentially unknowable actuality. . . and no, this is not merely a philosophical reflection). So, by "risk" does one mean risk of maltreatment (actual independent reality) or risk of being the subject of "indicated" or "substantiated" maltreatment? (To the extent "philosophical reflections" are contemplated in this field, they seem to be restricted to ethics/ political philosophy considerations, but underneath there are, well, epistemological issues--with real moral, political, etc impact on real individuals) Sheri McMahon -------------------------------------------------- From: "Rhenda Hodnett" Sent: Wednesday, September 16, 2009 8:11 AM To: "Child Maltreatment Researchers" Subject: Re: indicated reports vs unfounded reports > This line of thinking would also be supported by the Structured Decision > Making risk assessment (which we are using in Louisiana) since unfounded > reports are counted as well in determining risk level for future > maltreatment. > > Rhenda H. Hodnett, MSW, LCSW > Director Prevention & Protection Services > DSS/Office of Community Services > 627 N. Fourth Street, P. O. Box 3318 > Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70821 > 225-342-4013 > rhodnettdss.state.la.us > > >>>> 09/15/09 10:00 PM >>> > Immediate thought: > Existence of previous reports is considered a risk factor, whether > formally or as something that tends to influence the person making the > risk determination. > Sheri McMahon > > > From: Todd McDonald > Sent: Tuesday, September 15, 2009 4:48 PM > To: Child Maltreatment Researchers > Subject: indicated reports vs unfounded reports > > > Dear list members. Does anyone know if unfounded cases of abuse or > neglect are as at risk for problems down the road compared with indicated > cases? Are these children just as vulnerable? > > Todd > > > > > > ________________________________ Email correspondence to and from this address is subject to the North Carolina Public Records Law and may be disclosed to third parties by an authorized State official. Unauthorized disclosure of juvenile, health, legally privileged, or otherwise confidential information, including confidential information relating to an ongoing State procurement effort, is prohibited by law. If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately and delete all records of this e-mail.