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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. The table below contains all past CMRL messages (text only, no attachments) from Nov. 20, 1996 - December 22, 2017 and is updated quarterly.

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Message ID: 9351
Date: 2013-02-07

Author:Kristen Shook Slack

Subject:Re: Indicators for Primary Child Maltreatment Prevention?

Hi all. I thought I'd pipe in and add a few thoughts. There are clearly many issues to consider in answering the original question about indicators of maltreatment, and if I recall, specifically "more positively worded" indicators of child safety. I agree with previous posters that substantiated maltreatment is becoming an increasingly obsolete indicator, particularly with so many front-end system reforms in place (in some cases for quite some time) that may alter the way that cases are screened, investigated, and substantiated. A better measure in my opinion would be an indicator of cases that "open" in some form for services, because in theory there should be some statutory basis for providing services. It is simply no longer the case, though, that substantiation and case openings go hand in hand. However, that is not often a distinct or reported indicator that is tracked within states. I think for now the next best thing is screened-in (by and large investigated) reports--too much "noise" in all reported cases, and still some in the screened-in/investigated group, but at least that group has passed some initial threshold of concern whether or not they are ultimately opened for service. If you move away from SACWIS administrative data indicators, the next question becomes, are there indicators that are systematically collected in a way that affords an understanding of incidence, prevalence, trends, and have such indicators been shown to be at least moderately correlated with one or more indicators of CPS involvement. Although not a "positive" indicator, another risk indicator that we could seek to understand better is the relationship between emergency room visits for children, particularly those related to accidents and injuries. That is a gross proxy to be sure, but with child maltreatment, I think you have to "surround" it with multiple indicators rather than rely on any one indicator, since it is a phenomenon that is virtually impossible to accurately and precisely measure. Sandra Azar has done some interesting work trying to bridge the childhood injury literature with the maltreatment literature, since these two areas of study often do not intersect, oddly enough. There have been some recent studies in the medical literature linking the recession to upticks in traumatic brain injuries in young children--this line of research deserves more attention and funding. Another person to look at is David Finkelhor, who does very interesting work with his colleagues on monitoring trends in a number of violence-related indicators (e.g., violent crimes, etc.) as well as other social problems that in many examples trend in very similar patterns with maltreatment. Melissa Jonson-Reid, Brett Drake and colleagues have done much work looking at the administrative data correlates of various types of maltreatment, as has Maria Cancian, Jennifer Noyes and colleagues at the Institute for Research on Poverty at the U of Wisconsin-Madison. Aaron Shlonsky and colleagues have done extensive work in the area or risk assessment that is relevant, as well. The Wisconsin Children's Trust Fund also has a host of initiatives underway to try to better understand the predictors and correlates of neglect, specifically, given that it has for many years been the most prevalent form of maltreatment. The National Alliance of Children's Trust Funds is also working to better understand neglect. My colleagues and I published a recent paper in Children and Youth Services Review that uses three different data sets to identify predictors of neglect (both risk and protective factors). Slack, K.S., Berger, L.M., DuMont, K., and Yang, M. (2011). Predicting child neglect of young children: A comparison of three samples. Children and Youth Services Review, 33, 1354-1363. The Wisconsin Children's Trust Fund is also working on developing and administering a a statewide survey of "positive community norms" that they theorize may be associated with other indicators of maltreatment at the community level. This may be of particular interest to Scott and his team given the original query. W-CTF is furthermore seeking to better understand the relationship between rates of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE; CDC funded study by Dr. Anda and colleagues) and indicators of current maltreatment at the community level. My colleague, Lonnie Berger, and I have also been working on developing and piloting a tool (work funded by Doris Duke) that can be used for assessing maltreatment risk in a prevention setting. The reason I say in a prevention setting is that many of the existing tools do not lend themselves to a prevention context where families are typically voluntary and the philosophy is heavily strengths-based. Other existing tools are too lengthy, require too much training and/or familiarity with families to be useful during engagement stages, or they cost money to use. This tool, is intended to be easy to administer, non-threatening to answer, balanced in its attention to risks and strengths, broader than a focus on only "parenting" constructs, and predictive of CPS involvement as well as other indicators of maltreatment. We have piloted it with about 1,000 families with some very interesting results (not yet published) and are in the midst of refining it for a second round of piloting. I know there are many others out there doing great work in this area, and hope you will all chime in, as it is so important for us to all be aware of each others' work and findings on this topic. Thanks all! -Kristi On Feb 6, 2013, at 12:52 PM, Peggy Taylor wrote: This is the particular study I had in mind when I responded earlier: Slack, K. S. (1999). Does the loss of welfare income increase the risk of involvement with the child welfare system? . Children and Youth Services Review. 21(9-10), 781 - 814. This is the link to her University of Wisconsin webpage with all of her publications, and contact information. http://socwork.wisc.edu/kristi-slack On Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 11:29 AM, Sherra Clinton > wrote: Peggy and All: Does Kristen Shook Slack have published work you could reference? Or is there contact information for her research? Thanks, Sherra Clinton, Santa Cruz County. From: bounce-72658775-8535003@list.cornell.edu [mailto:bounce-72658775-8535003@list.cornell.edu ] On Behalf Of Peggy Taylor Sent: Monday, February 04, 2013 11:15 PM To: Child Maltreatment Researchers Cc: Child-Maltreatment-Research-L@cornell.edu Subject: Re: Indicators for Primary Child Maltreatment Prevention? Kristen Shook Slack has done some interesting work in this area. She found that welfare sanctions and housing disruptions were the best predictors of child welfare involvement. I think this interesting in light of more recent studies that found a very low incidence of drug use among welfare recipients. That is to say, the parents who are unable to manage the paperwork and compliance expectations for welfare services are likely to be the same parents who struggle with meeting their own needs and the needs of their children. Parent trauma history, substance abuse, mental illness, and cognitive capacity can in various combinations affect parents' capacity to care for themselves and their children. These vulnerable families can grow and change with positive and consistent supports. These findings also weave into the extensive evidence of the effectiveness of early home visiting programs in mediating parenting and child safety outcomes. Measures of positive supports to parents Measures of parent participation in parent education programs Measures of parents' capacity to maintain and utilize supports Measures of child developmental milestones through home visiting programs Measures of informal supports for parents (look to Head Start research, for example) I agree with others that the numbers of referrals, or screened in reports, is a better indicator of child maltreatment than substantiated reports. Risk assessment instruments generally acknowledge that increasing numbers of reports correlate with increased risk of maltreatment. I hope that in the not too distant future, we will be thinking more in terms of strengthening parents--all parents--and less in terms of preventing child maltreatment. Poor children end up in foster care. Middle and upper class children end up as adults in a therapist's office. We can all learn to be better parents together! On Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 6:29 PM, Bates - CDPHE, Scott > wrote: Hi all- I sit on our Early Childhood Leadership Coalition here in Colorado and we are looking for better, more positive, indicators of the primary prevention of child maltreatment. We currently use county rates of substantiated child maltreatment as an indicator and, as you may imagine, those rates are subject to too many local factors (e.g., case worker training, worker caseloads, etc.) to be comparable from county to county (our child welfare system is county-administered, state-supervised). I've looked at the data collected and am considering an indicator of new involvements as a function of child population (but I'm no epidemiologist or statistician, either!). Does anyone consider better indicators to measure child safety from maltreatment? Ideas regarding positively-worded indicators are especially welcome. Thanks! -Scott -- Scott Bates, MSW Program Manager Child Maltreatment Prevention Unit (Colorado Children's Trust Fund and Family Resource Centers) Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment scott.bates@state.co.us w (303) 692-2942 f (303) 691-7901 Kristen Shook Slack Professor and Director School of Social Work University of Wisconsin-Madison 1350 University Avenue Madison, WI 53706 ksslack@wisc.edu

Hi all. I thought I'd pipe in and add a few thoughts. There are clearly many issues to consider in answering the original question about indicators of maltreatment, and if I recall, specifically "more positively worded" indicators of child safety. I agree with previous posters that substantiated maltreatment is becoming an increasingly obsolete indicator, particularly with so many front-end system reforms in place (in some cases for quite some time) that may alter the way that cases are screened, investigated, and substantiated. A better measure in my opinion would be an indicator of cases that "open" in some form for services, because in theory there should be some statutory basis for providing services. It is simply no longer the case, though, that substantiation and case openings go hand in hand. However, that is not often a distinct or reported indicator that is tracked within states. I think for now the next best thing is screened-in (by and large investigated) reports--too much "noise" in all reported cases, and still some in the screened-in/investigated group, but at least that group has passed some initial threshold of concern whether or not they are ultimately opened for service. If you move away from SACWIS administrative data indicators, the next question becomes, are there indicators that are systematically collected in a way that affords an understanding of incidence, prevalence, trends, and have such indicators been shown to be at least moderately correlated with one or more indicators of CPS involvement. Although not a "positive" indicator, another risk indicator that we could seek to understand better is the relationship between emergency room visits for children, particularly those related to accidents and injuries. That is a gross proxy to be sure, but with child maltreatment, I think you have to "surround" it with multiple indicators rather than rely on any one indicator, since it is a phenomenon that is virtually impossible to accurately and precisely measure. Sandra Azar has done some interesting work trying to bridge the childhood injury literature with the maltreatment literature, since these two areas of study often do not intersect, oddly enough. There have been some recent studies in the medical literature linking the recession to upticks in traumatic brain injuries in young children--this line of research deserves more attention and funding. Another person to look at is David Finkelhor, who does very interesting work with his colleagues on monitoring trends in a number of violence-related indicators (e.g., violent crimes, etc.) as well as other social problems that in many examples trend in very similar patterns with maltreatment. Melissa Jonson-Reid, Brett Drake and colleagues have done much work looking at the administrative data correlates of various types of maltreatment, as has Maria Cancian, Jennifer Noyes and colleagues at the Institute for Research on Poverty at the U of Wisconsin-Madison. Aaron Shlonsky and colleagues have done extensive work in the area or risk assessment that is relevant, as well. The Wisconsin Children's Trust Fund also has a host of initiatives underway to try to better understand the predictors and correlates of neglect, specifically, given that it has for many years been the most prevalent form of maltreatment. The National Alliance of Children's Trust Funds is also working to better understand neglect. My colleagues and I published a recent paper in Children and Youth Services Review that uses three different data sets to identify predictors of neglect (both risk and protective factors). Slack, K.S., Berger, L.M., DuMont, K., and Yang, M. (2011). Predicting child neglect of young children: A comparison of three samples. Children and Youth Services Review, 33, 1354-1363. The Wisconsin Children's Trust Fund is also working on developing and administering a a statewide survey of "positive community norms" that they theorize may be associated with other indicators of maltreatment at the community level. This may be of particular interest to Scott and his team given the original query. W-CTF is furthermore seeking to better understand the relationship between rates of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE; CDC funded study by Dr. Anda and colleagues) and indicators of current maltreatment at the community level. My colleague, Lonnie Berger, and I have also been working on developing and piloting a tool (work funded by Doris Duke) that can be used for assessing maltreatment risk in a prevention setting. The reason I say in a prevention setting is that many of the existing tools do not lend themselves to a prevention context where families are typically voluntary and the philosophy is heavily strengths-based. Other existing tools are too lengthy, require too much training and/or familiarity with families to be useful during engagement stages, or they cost money to use. This tool, is intended to be easy to administer, non-threatening to answer, balanced in its attention to risks and strengths, broader than a focus on only "parenting" constructs, and predictive of CPS involvement as well as other indicators of maltreatment. We have piloted it with about 1,000 families with some very interesting results (not yet published) and are in the midst of refining it for a second round of piloting. I know there are many others out there doing great work in this area, and hope you will all chime in, as it is so important for us to all be aware of each others' work and findings on this topic. Thanks all! -Kristi On Feb 6, 2013, at 12:52 PM, Peggy Taylor wrote: This is the particular study I had in mind when I responded earlier: Slack, K. S. (1999). Does the loss of welfare income increase the risk of involvement with the child welfare system? . Children and Youth Services Review. 21(9-10), 781 - 814. This is the link to her University of Wisconsin webpage with all of her publications, and contact information. http://socwork.wisc.edu/kristi-slack On Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 11:29 AM, Sherra Clinton > wrote: Peggy and All: Does Kristen Shook Slack have published work you could reference? Or is there contact information for her research? Thanks, Sherra Clinton, Santa Cruz County. From: bounce-72658775-8535003list.cornell.edu [mailto:bounce-72658775-8535003list.cornell.edu ] On Behalf Of Peggy Taylor Sent: Monday, February 04, 2013 11:15 PM To: Child Maltreatment Researchers Cc: Child-Maltreatment-Research-Lcornell.edu Subject: Re: Indicators for Primary Child Maltreatment Prevention? Kristen Shook Slack has done some interesting work in this area. She found that welfare sanctions and housing disruptions were the best predictors of child welfare involvement. I think this interesting in light of more recent studies that found a very low incidence of drug use among welfare recipients. That is to say, the parents who are unable to manage the paperwork and compliance expectations for welfare services are likely to be the same parents who struggle with meeting their own needs and the needs of their children. Parent trauma history, substance abuse, mental illness, and cognitive capacity can in various combinations affect parents' capacity to care for themselves and their children. These vulnerable families can grow and change with positive and consistent supports. These findings also weave into the extensive evidence of the effectiveness of early home visiting programs in mediating parenting and child safety outcomes. Measures of positive supports to parents Measures of parent participation in parent education programs Measures of parents' capacity to maintain and utilize supports Measures of child developmental milestones through home visiting programs Measures of informal supports for parents (look to Head Start research, for example) I agree with others that the numbers of referrals, or screened in reports, is a better indicator of child maltreatment than substantiated reports. Risk assessment instruments generally acknowledge that increasing numbers of reports correlate with increased risk of maltreatment. I hope that in the not too distant future, we will be thinking more in terms of strengthening parents--all parents--and less in terms of preventing child maltreatment. Poor children end up in foster care. Middle and upper class children end up as adults in a therapist's office. We can all learn to be better parents together! On Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 6:29 PM, Bates - CDPHE, Scott > wrote: Hi all- I sit on our Early Childhood Leadership Coalition here in Colorado and we are looking for better, more positive, indicators of the primary prevention of child maltreatment. We currently use county rates of substantiated child maltreatment as an indicator and, as you may imagine, those rates are subject to too many local factors (e.g., case worker training, worker caseloads, etc.) to be comparable from county to county (our child welfare system is county-administered, state-supervised). I've looked at the data collected and am considering an indicator of new involvements as a function of child population (but I'm no epidemiologist or statistician, either!). Does anyone consider better indicators to measure child safety from maltreatment? Ideas regarding positively-worded indicators are especially welcome. Thanks! -Scott -- Scott Bates, MSW Program Manager Child Maltreatment Prevention Unit (Colorado Children's Trust Fund and Family Resource Centers) Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment scott.batesstate.co.us w (303) 692-2942 f (303) 691-7901 Kristen Shook Slack Professor and Director School of Social Work University of Wisconsin-Madison 1350 University Avenue Madison, WI 53706 ksslackwisc.edu