Masters Thesis

Analysis of indicators of child maltreatment recurrence in the Tulare County child welfare system

Background: In 2013, there were a total of82 children that had a recurrence of maltreatment within 6 months in the county of Tulare. The goal of Tulare County CWS is to reduce and prevent recurrence of maltreatment. Tulare County Child Welfare Services is subject to federal and state standards. This study analyzed Safety Outcome: S 1.1 No Recurrence of Maltreatment for the year 2013. This outcome is a part of the Outcomes and Accountability Data Report for Tulare County Child Welfare Services. Utilizing evidence-based practices is a cornerstone of Tulare County Child Welfare Services to ensure that performance standards are met and also that service delivery is effective. Rationale: This study analyzed high risk factors for recurrence of maltreatment and also compared initial occurrence of maltreatment to second incident of recurrence. The federal standard goal is 94.6% and none of the reporting quarters for 2013 met that goal, therefore in order to improve outcomes, analysis of the recurrence of maltreatment is necessary to make informed, evidence based decisions regarding Tulare County Policy and Procedures. Determination and identification of indicators of recurrence is a direct result of this study as well. This aids in the streamlining of identifying high risk referrals and also tailoring policy and procedures for reporting methods. Recommendations: Implementation Recommendations: I. Create a database of "high risk" referral status to identify those referrals that are high risk for recurrence according to the indicators, citing high risk with substance abuse and household size. 2. Ensuring timely closure on reports as risk is higher for recurrence of maltreatment following the initial report. 3. Ensure that initial reports with no contact be promptly closed with an inconclusive finding rather than substantiated to prevent "doubling" of substantiated allegations on multiple referrals. Research Recommendations: I. Future research should incorporate a larger sample size as well as a comparison analysis incorporating the time periods that Tulare County Child Welfare Services was successful in reaching federal safety outcome measures. 2. Future research should also incorporate those children whom re-entered foster care to add an analysis to the spectrum of recurrence of maltreatment. 3. Focus research on perpetrator analysis per indicators to be researched of: prior child victim, substance abuse, DV exposure, poverty, and employment. 4. Research and analysis of current procedures and services for the prevention of drug abuse and addiction.

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