Effectiveness of child protective services interventions as indicated by rates of recidivism
Child maltreatment is a pervasive problem with a number of negative consequences, both in terms of human suffering and economic costs. This issue is compounded by the alarming rates of recidivism (i.e., having a second case of maltreatment following the original event), which has been linked to even poorer outcomes for children involved. Child Protective Services (CPS) is the government agency charged with intervening in cases of maltreatment and preventing further maltreatment. While many studies have examined the relationship between background variables and recidivism, fewer studies have examined CPS interventions in this regard. A better understanding of these factors could help inform CPS on which interventions to employ, or which cases may require closer monitoring. Thus, the goal of the current study is to test the predictability of recidivism based on both background factors (e.g., disability status of the child, type of abuse) and CPS interventions (e.g., providing therapy for the caregiver, removing the child from the caregiver temporarily). Two predictors, minority status of the caregiver and providing therapy for the caregiver, were associated with reduced recidivism outcomes, while temporarily removing the child from the caregiver was associated with increased chances of recidivism. It may be concluded that cases involving child placement away from the caregiver may require further monitoring by CPS, and that ordering therapy for more caregivers may help to reduce recidivism rates.
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