Case, Service and Family Characteristics of Households that Experience a Child Maltreatment Fatality in the United States: Service Characteristics of Maltreatment Fatalities

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Child Abuse Review, ISSN: 0952-9136, Vol: 22, Issue: 5, Page: 311-326

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Douglas, Emily M.
Medicine; Social Sciences; child maltreatment fatality; service characteristics; child welfare workers; online survey methods; Social Work
article description
Child maltreatment fatalities have increasingly received attention over the past three decades and yet there is a dearth of information concerning case, service and family/household factors associated with maltreatment fatalities. This is a US multi-state study of 135 child welfare workers who experienced the death of a child on their caseload. They reported on the case, service and family/household characteristics of a child who died on their caseload. Results indicate that workers had seen victims one week prior to their death and were closely monitoring families. The most frequently mentioned family characteristics included: parental unemployment, parental mental health, experiencing a major life event and parents' inappropriate age expectations of the child. Parental alcohol and substance use were more common among infant victims; and parental perceptions of the child being 'difficult' were more common among older victims. The results are discussed with regard to future research and prevention for the field. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.