Child protection decisions to substantiate hospital child protection teams' reports of suspected maltreatment

Merav Jedwab, Rami Benbenishty, Wendy Chen, Saralee Glasser, Gil Siegal, Liat Lerner-Geva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The present study focuses on the way child protection officers (CPOs) in Israel assess suspected abuse and neglect (SCAN) reports made by hospital child protection teams (CPTs), to determine whether the alleged maltreatment is substantiated. The study was conducted in six medical centers and included 358 reports investigated by CPOs for SCAN. A structured questionnaire was completed by hospital CPTs to capture all relevant information on each child referred to the CPTs. Structured phone interviews were conducted with each of the CPOs who received a CPT report. Bivariate associations and multivariate logistic regressions were conducted to estimate the substantiation rate of cases reported by CPTs and the types of maltreatment substantiated, as well as to identify case characteristics of the child and the family that were associated with the CPOs' substantiation decision. CPO follow-up investigations revealed a substantiation rate of 53.5%. The maltreatment type most commonly substantiated was neglect. The case characteristics associated with substantiation included socio-demographic background, parents' health and functioning, previous contact with social services, characteristics of the hospital referral, medical findings and an assessment of the parents' behaviors. The findings of the study highlighted the importance of cooperation between the health and welfare services and the policy makers. This cooperation is essential for identifying early signs of maltreatment. Enhanced cooperation and effective information transfer between various professionals would help prevent or at least reduce the recurrence of maltreatment and would ensure that the children and their families are treated appropriately.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-141
Number of pages10
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume40
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2015

Keywords

  • Child protection teams
  • Child protective officers
  • Maltreatment substantiation
  • Reporting

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