High Risk of Rereport in Child Abuse Cases

Rereports higher in children with behavioral problems and families with lower income

WEDNESDAY, July 6 (HealthDay News) -- A large percentage of children who remain in the home following an abuse report are at an increased risk of rereports and reabuse, according to a study published online July 4 in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Suzanne R. Dakil, M.D., from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and colleagues examined risk clusters associated with higher or lower risk of new abuse reports in 2,578 U.S. children reported to the child protection system for child abuse, who remained in the home following an initial abuse report.

The researchers found that, during the five-year follow-up period, 44 percent of the children were rereported. Based on bivariate analyses, there was a higher probability of rereports for children with behavioral problems (49 versus 38 percent), caregivers with an abuse history (33 versus 16 percent) or a child welfare history (38 versus 25 percent), and families with an annual income lower than $20,000 (70 versus 60 percent). Substantiated reabuse was found in 45 percent of reports, with two risk clusters having a higher incidence: the cluster with a substantiated index report, where a caregiver is not receiving a parenting class, is of non-African-American ethnicity, and is younger than 41.5 years; and the cluster with a substantiated index report -- a caregiver receiving a parenting class, and the child's age being younger than 8.5 years.

"Among children remaining in the home following an abuse report, specific risk groups have higher and lower incidence of rereports and reabuse. These risk group categories may be useful to child protection services and others in identifying at-risk children and making decisions about placement and services," the authors write

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