Describing the Context and Nature of Emotional Maltreatment Reports in Children

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The circumstances leading to reports of emotional maltreatment are potentially unique from those of other abuse types. This study utilized data from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS), which is a federally sponsored effort requiring the submission of case-level data on all children who were subject to maltreatment investigations by state child welfare agencies. The central aims of this study were to examine case-level characteristics of sole occurrences of emotional maltreatment Child Protective Service (CPS) reports in an effort to address how caregiver and child risk correlates affect the substantiation of these allegations. A cluster analysis was performed to explore how the risk assessment factors grouped together; secondarily, the cluster groupings were examined in a logistic regression model to measure factors associated with substantiation of these abuse reports. Four unique clusters emerged, with one cluster absent any risk assessment factors entirely and another cluster solely composed of domestic violence. Caregiver risk factors with the highest odds of predicting report substantiation included caregiver substance abuse, domestic violence, and caregiver learning disabilities.



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