Design Options for Understanding Child Maltreatment Incidence

Prepared for
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families

Although research on child maltreatment has advanced substantially over the past 20 years, new data and innovative research tools make it possible to better understand the incidence of maltreatment and related risks and, in turn, to improve practices and policies. This project explores the potential of advanced methods and data to address unanswered questions about the incidence of child maltreatment and related risks.

We are working with co-principal investigators Brett Drake and Melissa Jonson-Reid at the Washington University in St. Louis’s George Warren Brown School of Social Work to identify design options for studies to improve the accuracy of surveillance of child maltreatment and related risks. The findings will inform the direction of future research drawing on existing administrative data, innovative methods, and advanced statistical techniques.

The team is:

  • Identifying and prioritizing key research questions
  • Exploring innovative methodological approaches
  • Reviewing existing administrative data sets and ongoing surveys
  • Examining potential measurement issues
  • Considering the feasibility of and the resources needed for various designs

Each design option will discuss primary research questions; describe how to access, use, and link relevant data sources; identify relevant survey items and statistical analysis plans; pre-test instruments; estimate statistical power, respondent burden, and needed resources; and discuss the barriers, challenges, and feasibility.

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