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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

WashU: Child Maltreatment Investigations More Common Than Expected

An estimated 37% of U.S. children are the subjects of a child protective services investigation by the age of 18, according to new research from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

bdrake jonsonreid

[Photo: Drs. F. Brett Drake (left) and Melissa Jonson-Reid]

Researchers examined data from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System Child Files and Census data to estimate the prevalence of reported childhood maltreatment.

They found a higher rate of reported maltreatment for African-American children (53%) and the lowest rate for Asians/Pacific Islanders (10%).

“Child maltreatment investigations are more common than is generally recognized,” wrote co-authors Dr. Melissa Jonson-Reid and Dr. F. Brett Drake, professors at the Brown School; and Hyunil Kim, a PhD student. “Building on other recent work, our data suggest a critical need for increased preventative and treatment resources in the area of child maltreatment.”

The paper was published online Dec. 20 in the American Journal of Public Health ahead of publication in the January issue.

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