Safety and risk assessment frameworks: overview and implications for child maltreatment fatalities

Child Welfare. 2013;92(2):143-60.


This article highlights current models used in child protection to assess safety and risk, and discusses implications for child maltreatment fatalities. The authors advance that current risk and safety practice approaches were not designed to accurately estimate the likelihood of low base-rate phenomena and have not been empirically tested in their ability to predict or prevent severe or fatal child maltreatment. They advance that, regardless of the ultimate effectiveness of safety and risk tools, competent assessment and decision-making in child protection depend on sound professional judgment and a comprehensive systemic approach that transcends the use of specific tools.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Abuse / mortality
  • Child Abuse / prevention & control*
  • Child Welfare
  • Decision Making
  • Homicide / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Safety
  • Social Work / methods*