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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 - September 14, 2018 and is updated quarterly.

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Message ID: 9001
Date: 2011-11-06

Author:E. Christopher Lloyd

Subject:Re: National Child Abuse and Neglect Registry

There are numerous problems with constructing such a database. As others have noted, states define maltreatment types differently and on top of that problem, some states' investigations do not produce a definitive statement of whether maltreatment occurred (and of what type and/or severity). More importantly, if the database is based on criminal convictions (as is a sexual offender database), then it will miss many, if not most, maltreatment perpetrators as criminal cases are not filed for every case (and convictions obtained in fewer). Beyond those problems, plea bargains and other legal activities mean the perpetrator may not be eventually convicted of an offense that indicates maltreatment (e.g., a plea that reduces charges to assault and battery from child endangerment). On the other hand, one could use child welfare case data. But the lack of legal protections (rights to due process, legal representation, etc.) would make this almost certainly unconstitutional. And using case data would significantly impair the rehabilitative function of child welfare services even if it were. I hope our commitment to social justice would preclude social workers from endorsing such a database. Child maltreatment is densely intertwined with poverty, substance abuse, intolerance, and other problems. Do we really want to brand people with a permanent "OFFENDER" label for, in at least some cases, being no more than terribly poor or a victim of intolerance or (as the recent NPR reports on native Americans in child welfare might suggest) bureaucracies run amok? Chris E. Christopher Lloyd, PhD, LCSW Assistant Professor School of Social Work University of Arkansas at Little Rock 2801 South University Avenue Little Rock, AR 72204 501.569.8486

There are numerous problems with constructing such a database. As others have noted, states define maltreatment types differently and on top of that problem, some states' investigations do not produce a definitive statement of whether maltreatment occurred (and of what type and/or severity). More importantly, if the database is based on criminal convictions (as is a sexual offender database), then it will miss many, if not most, maltreatment perpetrators as criminal cases are not filed for every case (and convictions obtained in fewer). Beyond those problems, plea bargains and other legal activities mean the perpetrator may not be eventually convicted of an offense that indicates maltreatment (e.g., a plea that reduces charges to assault and battery from child endangerment). On the other hand, one could use child welfare case data. But the lack of legal protections (rights to due process, legal representation, etc.) would make this almost certainly unconstitutional. And using case data would significantly impair the rehabilitative function of child welfare services even if it were. I hope our commitment to social justice would preclude social workers from endorsing such a database. Child maltreatment is densely intertwined with poverty, substance abuse, intolerance, and other problems. Do we really want to brand people with a permanent "OFFENDER" label for, in at least some cases, being no more than terribly poor or a victim of intolerance or (as the recent NPR reports on native Americans in child welfare might suggest) bureaucracies run amok? Chris E. Christopher Lloyd, PhD, LCSW Assistant Professor School of Social Work University of Arkansas at Little Rock 2801 South University Avenue Little Rock, AR 72204 501.569.8486