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

Database of Past CMRL Messages

Welcome to the database of past Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) list serve messages. The table below contains all past CMRL messages (text only, no attachments) from Nov. 20, 1996 - March 6, 2018 and is updated quarterly.

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Message ID: 8375
Date: 2010-02-03

Author:NCCPRaol.com

Subject:Re: NIS-4 commentary

Here is an excerpt from our analysis that deals with this topic: THE ENORMOUS ROLE OF POVERTY... Children who are poor are thee times more likely to experience abuse, as defined by this study, and seven times more likely to experience neglect – which is hardly surprising since the very definition of neglect in this study is a definition of poverty. RACIAL BIAS The poverty factor helps explain the findings on race. Again using definitions that define poverty as neglect, the study found more maltreatment among Black families. Mostly this was not due to an increase in alleged maltreatment among Black families but rather a slower rate of decrease. Given what has happened in America from 1993 through 2006 that’s not surprising. Though most of this period was a time of economic prosperity, that prosperity was not distributed equally – on the contrary, the gap between rich and poor continued to widen. So it’s no wonder what is defined as child maltreatment, which so often encompasses poverty itself, is likely to decline more slowly among Black families. Where it is claimed that maltreatment among Black families increased, it is in the most subjective category – “emotional neglect,” and the more subjective the category, the more vulnerable it is to racial bias. ... there is no excuse for tearing apart a family just because the family is poor. And other studies, including one in which workers were given identical hypothetical cases, show that even when poverty is not a factor, workers are more likely to claim a child is “at risk” if the family is described as Black. (Citations in NCCPR Issue Paper #7, Child Welfare and Race, available at www.nccpr.org ) The data in NIS-4 provide more evidence that both class bias and racial bias pervade child welfare. The data suggest that Black children, because they are more likely to be poor, are more likely to be taken when family poverty is confused with neglect. But the data on “emotional neglect” suggest, once again, that Black children also are more likely to be taken because they are Black. The full analysis is on our website. Richard Wexler Executive Director National Coalition for Child Protection Reform 53 Skyhill Road (Suite 202) Alexandria VA 22314 703-212-2006 www.nccpr.org In a message dated 2/2/2010 10:21:54 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, tmac5528@yahoo.com writes: thanks to everyone for their response regarding my question about race and ethnicity and culture. this list is such a valuable resource. related to NIS 4, is it true that this round identifed racial differences, whereas previous rounds did not. how should we understand or make sense of this finding? TM --- On Tue, 2/2/10, Finkelhor, David wrote: From: Finkelhor, David Subject: NIS-4 commentary To: "child-maltreatment-research-L@cornell.edu" Date: Tuesday, February 2, 2010, 8:59 PM The Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS-4) just released its findings. It shows that in the period from 1993 to 2005/6 the annual rate of sexual abuse declined substantially (44% under the “Harm” Standard (HS) and 47% under the “Endangerment” Standard, a more liberal definition of child maltreatment). The rate of physical abuse declined as well (down 23% under the HS and 29% under the ES). The rate of emotional abuse declined 33% under the HS and 48% under the ES. Interestingly, the rate of emotional neglect ROSE 83% under the ES. These findings provide some additional perspectives on the question of whether various forms of child maltreatment have been declining since the early 1990s. First, it adds one more set of data showing declines in physical and sexual abuse during this period, adding to data from NCANDS, the National Crime Victimization Survey, and the Minnesota state student survey. You can see Finkelhor & Jones (2006) for a summary of this evidence. Second, it undercuts explanations for the decline in NCANDs data hypothesizing that CPS agencies have changed the way they count, define or investigate abuse. Since majority of the maltreatment cases in NIS are from community sentinels and the study uses rigorous definitions to evaluate each case, it shows that the decline is not about CPS agency behavior. Third, it undercuts explanations for the decline in NCANDs data that say that professionals have become more reluctant to report abuse to CPS. Sentinels could tell the NIS study about cases and not report them to CPS without any risk. The sentinels did fail to report a lot of abuse to CPS, but they also were encountering a lot less, as well. It still could be the case that professionals have gotten jaded and are not noticing as much physical and sexual abuse. Fourth, the NIS researchers do provide some support for the idea that neglect has failed to decline in NCANDs data at least in part because of an expansion of interest in children exposed to domestic violence and parental drug usage as forms of maltreatment. According to Andreas Sedlak in her presentation in San Diego the big reason for the expansion of neglect rates was sentinels seeing more children exposed to domestic violence and parental drug usage. She believes this is likely a change in awareness, especially since data from sources like NCVS show a decline in actual domestic violence. Note also if professionals have been willing to expand their notion of child maltreatment to include exposure to DV, this does not really jibe very well with the idea that they have gotten too jaded to notice as much physical and sexual abuse. It suggests if anything a greater vigilance. Overall, the NIS findings seem to me to contribute to the evidence that physical and sexual abuse did decline for an extended period from the early 1990s to the mid 2000s. You can find the executive summary and full NIS-4 report here: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/abuse_neglect/natl_incid/index.html Other discussions about the decline can be found here: http://www.unh.edu/ccrc/Trends/index.html David Finkelhor Crimes against Children Research Center Family Research Laboratory Department of Sociology, University of New Hampshire Durham, NH 03824 Tel 603 862-2761* Fax 603 862-1122 email: david.finkelhor@unh.edu SAVE THE DATE International Family Violence and Child Victimization Research Conference July 11th - 13th 2010 - Sheraton Harborside Hotel, Portsmouth NH Submit your Abstract at www.unh.edu/frl/conferences Abstract Submission Deadline February 27th 2010 E-mail: frl.conference@unh.edu My new book has been released. Click on it for more details and to order. http://www.unh.edu/ccrc/ http://www.unh.edu/frl/

Here is an excerpt from our analysis that deals with this topic: THE ENORMOUS ROLE OF POVERTY... Children who are poor are thee times more likely to experience abuse, as defined by this study, and seven times more likely to experience neglect – which is hardly surprising since the very definition of neglect in this study is a definition of poverty. RACIAL BIAS The poverty factor helps explain the findings on race. Again using definitions that define poverty as neglect, the study found more maltreatment among Black families. Mostly this was not due to an increase in alleged maltreatment among Black families but rather a slower rate of decrease. Given what has happened in America from 1993 through 2006 that’s not surprising. Though most of this period was a time of economic prosperity, that prosperity was not distributed equally – on the contrary, the gap between rich and poor continued to widen. So it’s no wonder what is defined as child maltreatment, which so often encompasses poverty itself, is likely to decline more slowly among Black families. Where it is claimed that maltreatment among Black families increased, it is in the most subjective category – “emotional neglect,” and the more subjective the category, the more vulnerable it is to racial bias. ... there is no excuse for tearing apart a family just because the family is poor. And other studies, including one in which workers were given identical hypothetical cases, show that even when poverty is not a factor, workers are more likely to claim a child is “at risk” if the family is described as Black. (Citations in NCCPR Issue Paper #7, Child Welfare and Race, available at www.nccpr.org ) The data in NIS-4 provide more evidence that both class bias and racial bias pervade child welfare. The data suggest that Black children, because they are more likely to be poor, are more likely to be taken when family poverty is confused with neglect. But the data on “emotional neglect” suggest, once again, that Black children also are more likely to be taken because they are Black. The full analysis is on our website. Richard Wexler Executive Director National Coalition for Child Protection Reform 53 Skyhill Road (Suite 202) Alexandria VA 22314 703-212-2006 www.nccpr.org In a message dated 2/2/2010 10:21:54 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, tmac5528yahoo.com writes: thanks to everyone for their response regarding my question about race and ethnicity and culture. this list is such a valuable resource. related to NIS 4, is it true that this round identifed racial differences, whereas previous rounds did not. how should we understand or make sense of this finding? TM --- On Tue, 2/2/10, Finkelhor, David wrote: From: Finkelhor, David Subject: NIS-4 commentary To: "child-maltreatment-research-Lcornell.edu" Date: Tuesday, February 2, 2010, 8:59 PM The Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS-4) just released its findings. It shows that in the period from 1993 to 2005/6 the annual rate of sexual abuse declined substantially (44% under the “Harm” Standard (HS) and 47% under the “Endangerment” Standard, a more liberal definition of child maltreatment). The rate of physical abuse declined as well (down 23% under the HS and 29% under the ES). The rate of emotional abuse declined 33% under the HS and 48% under the ES. Interestingly, the rate of emotional neglect ROSE 83% under the ES. These findings provide some additional perspectives on the question of whether various forms of child maltreatment have been declining since the early 1990s. First, it adds one more set of data showing declines in physical and sexual abuse during this period, adding to data from NCANDS, the National Crime Victimization Survey, and the Minnesota state student survey. You can see Finkelhor & Jones (2006) for a summary of this evidence. Second, it undercuts explanations for the decline in NCANDs data hypothesizing that CPS agencies have changed the way they count, define or investigate abuse. Since majority of the maltreatment cases in NIS are from community sentinels and the study uses rigorous definitions to evaluate each case, it shows that the decline is not about CPS agency behavior. Third, it undercuts explanations for the decline in NCANDs data that say that professionals have become more reluctant to report abuse to CPS. Sentinels could tell the NIS study about cases and not report them to CPS without any risk. The sentinels did fail to report a lot of abuse to CPS, but they also were encountering a lot less, as well. It still could be the case that professionals have gotten jaded and are not noticing as much physical and sexual abuse. Fourth, the NIS researchers do provide some support for the idea that neglect has failed to decline in NCANDs data at least in part because of an expansion of interest in children exposed to domestic violence and parental drug usage as forms of maltreatment. According to Andreas Sedlak in her presentation in San Diego the big reason for the expansion of neglect rates was sentinels seeing more children exposed to domestic violence and parental drug usage. She believes this is likely a change in awareness, especially since data from sources like NCVS show a decline in actual domestic violence. Note also if professionals have been willing to expand their notion of child maltreatment to include exposure to DV, this does not really jibe very well with the idea that they have gotten too jaded to notice as much physical and sexual abuse. It suggests if anything a greater vigilance. Overall, the NIS findings seem to me to contribute to the evidence that physical and sexual abuse did decline for an extended period from the early 1990s to the mid 2000s. You can find the executive summary and full NIS-4 report here: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/abuse_neglect/natl_incid/index.html Other discussions about the decline can be found here: http://www.unh.edu/ccrc/Trends/index.html David Finkelhor Crimes against Children Research Center Family Research Laboratory Department of Sociology, University of New Hampshire Durham, NH 03824 Tel 603 862-2761* Fax 603 862-1122 email: david.finkelhorunh.edu SAVE THE DATE International Family Violence and Child Victimization Research Conference July 11th - 13th 2010 - Sheraton Harborside Hotel, Portsmouth NH Submit your Abstract at www.unh.edu/frl/conferences Abstract Submission Deadline February 27th 2010 E-mail: frl.conferenceunh.edu My new book has been released. Click on it for more details and to order. http://www.unh.edu/ccrc/ http://www.unh.edu/frl/