The effect of services on the recurrence of child maltreatment

Child Abuse Negl. 2002 Feb;26(2):187-205. doi: 10.1016/s0145-2134(01)00316-7.


Objective: Building on a previous model of recurrence, this study examined the relationship of services on the hazard of child maltreatment recurrence during CPS intervention for families who were provided continuing intervention following a confirmed index report of physical abuse or neglect.

Method: This nonconcurrent prospective study selected 434 subject families who met study eligibility requirements from 1181 families randomly selected from the 2902 families who had experienced a substantiated report of child abuse or neglect during the sampling year. Data were collected and coded from archival sources for 5 years following the index report. Each record was coded by two research analysts to increase inter-rater reliability. Data were analyzed with the Cox Proportional Regression Model.

Results: Case characteristics that predicted recurrence were: child vulnerability, family stress, partner abuse, and social support deficits. After examining the potential effect of nine service-related variables only attendance at services predicted recurrence while controlling for other variables in the model. Families who were noted to attend the services identified in their service plans were 33% less likely to experience a recurrence of child maltreatment while their case was active with CPS.

Conclusions: Implications of this and other research suggests that actively engaging families in a helping alliance and helping them accept and receive services may reduce the likelihood of future maltreatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Abuse / prevention & control*
  • Child Abuse / statistics & numerical data
  • Family Health*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health Services* / statistics & numerical data
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Secondary Prevention