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

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Welcome to the database of past Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) list serve messages (10,000+). The table below contains all past CMRL messages (text only, no attachments) from Nov. 20, 1996 - June 11, 2018 and is updated quarterly.

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Message ID: 8590
Date: 2010-08-27

Author:Emily Putnam-Hornstein

Subject:RE: New bulletin: Updated Trends in Child Maltreatment, 2008

Re: declining rates of maltreatment What would be concerning would be a declining rate of child victimization and an increasing rate of maltreatment related fatalities. Even if the decreased substantiation rates result from budget cuts and increased gatekeeping on the part of CPS (as mentioned by Kristen Shook Slack), rather than real declines in the number of children victimized, the key point is that we are not (yet) observing an increased rate of child deaths from maltreatment. However, as I’m sure most people on this listserv know, an ample body of research suggests that child deaths from maltreatment are frequently miscoded in death records. As Poha correctly points out, “Deaths are very hard to conceal or overlook, abuse is not”, but it must be added that correctly ascertaining maltreatment as the cause of death can be difficult. In my current research (not yet published), I have examined not just child deaths coded as maltreatment-related or homicide, but also injury deaths coded as “unintentional”. I have also included in my analysis children who were “screened out” or “evaluated out” . I’ve found that after controlling for a host of demographic differences, children under the age of five with any prior report to CPS died from injuries at 2.6 times the rate of their unreported yet sociodemographically similar peers (reported children died from intentional injuries at 5.5 times the rate of unreported children and from unintentional injuries at twice the rate). When I restrict the analysis to only those children who were previously screened out by CPS, I find that their all-cause injury death rate is over 2.5 times the rate of children who have never been reported (again, after adjusting for sociodemographic differences). These data fall far short of addressing the question as to whether or not we should believe the downward trends in child victimization, but certainly suggest that a very incomplete picture of child safety emerges if one looks only at substantiations and/or only at maltreatment-related fatalities… ____________________________ Emily Putnam-Hornstein Center for Social Services Research University of California at Berkeley eputnamhornstein@berkeley.edu 917.282.7861 (cell)

Re: declining rates of maltreatment What would be concerning would be a declining rate of child victimization and an increasing rate of maltreatment related fatalities. Even if the decreased substantiation rates result from budget cuts and increased gatekeeping on the part of CPS (as mentioned by Kristen Shook Slack), rather than real declines in the number of children victimized, the key point is that we are not (yet) observing an increased rate of child deaths from maltreatment. However, as I’m sure most people on this listserv know, an ample body of research suggests that child deaths from maltreatment are frequently miscoded in death records. As Poha correctly points out, “Deaths are very hard to conceal or overlook, abuse is not”, but it must be added that correctly ascertaining maltreatment as the cause of death can be difficult. In my current research (not yet published), I have examined not just child deaths coded as maltreatment-related or homicide, but also injury deaths coded as “unintentional”. I have also included in my analysis children who were “screened out” or “evaluated out” . I’ve found that after controlling for a host of demographic differences, children under the age of five with any prior report to CPS died from injuries at 2.6 times the rate of their unreported yet sociodemographically similar peers (reported children died from intentional injuries at 5.5 times the rate of unreported children and from unintentional injuries at twice the rate). When I restrict the analysis to only those children who were previously screened out by CPS, I find that their all-cause injury death rate is over 2.5 times the rate of children who have never been reported (again, after adjusting for sociodemographic differences). These data fall far short of addressing the question as to whether or not we should believe the downward trends in child victimization, but certainly suggest that a very incomplete picture of child safety emerges if one looks only at substantiations and/or only at maltreatment-related fatalities… ____________________________ Emily Putnam-Hornstein Center for Social Services Research University of California at Berkeley eputnamhornsteinberkeley.edu 917.282.7861 (cell)