Co-Reporting of Child Maltreatment and Intimate Partner Violence: The Likelihood of Substantiations and Foster Care Placements

Child Maltreat. 2021 Nov;26(4):431-440. doi: 10.1177/10775595211007205. Epub 2021 Mar 31.


Intimate partner violence (IPV) negatively affects children. Although IPV-related reports frequently come to the attention of child protective services (CPS), there is neither a unified standard for how CPS systems should respond, nor sufficient research documenting that reaction. The current study used population-based administrative records from California to assess how CPS responds to reported allegations of IPV, with and without physical abuse and/or neglect allegations. We used multinomial regression to model the likelihood of investigation outcomes. Results indicate that 20.7% of CPS reports had IPV alleged during hotline screening, and of those, just 3.2% were screened out compared to 20.2% for reports where IPV was not alleged. Almost half (45.5%) of IPV-alleged reports came from law enforcement, in contrast to 15.2% of reports that did not allege IPV. IPV-alleged reports were more likely to have allegations substantiated without a case opened for services, but less likely to result in foster care placements. Several statistically significant differences were identified by the type of alleged maltreatment co-reported with IPV. This study contributes to an understanding of how CPS responds to IPV-alleged reports.

Keywords: CPS; child maltreatment; domestic/intimate partner violence; foster care; investigation; neglect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Abuse*
  • Child Protective Services
  • Humans
  • Intimate Partner Violence*
  • Mass Screening
  • Physical Abuse