Re-referral to child protective services: The influence of child, family, and case characteristics on risk status

Christian M. Connell, Natasha Bergeron, Karol H. Katz, Leon Saunders, Jacob Kraemer Tebes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

136 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: This study examines child, family, and case characteristics that impact rates of re-referral to Child Protective Services (CPS) using data on all closed CPS investigations for the state of Rhode Island between 2001 and 2004. Method: A longitudinal dataset of all referrals to CPS was created using state submissions to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS). After excluding children whose initial CPS investigation resulted in removal from the home, a Cox proportional hazards model was tested to examine factors impacting the likelihood of re-referral. Results: Consistent with other research in this area, the initial 6-month period following case disposition is the period of greatest risk of re-referral. Approximately 13% of cases experienced a recurrent allegation during the first 6-month period; an additional 14% experienced a re-referral over the following 12-month period; 7% during the next 12-month period. Family poverty was the strongest predictor of re-referral, though a number of child and case characteristics were significantly related to recurrence. Cases that were substantiated at index were significantly less likely to result in a new allegation, though substantiated cases of physical abuse or those receiving post-investigation services were at higher risk. Conclusions: Children from families facing multiple stressors (e.g., low SES, parental substance abuse child disability) are at highest risk of re-referral to CPS and may benefit from the development of preventive services targeted immediately following case closings within CPS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)573-588
Number of pages16
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume31
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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