Linking Administrative Data to Improve Understanding of Child Maltreatment Incidence and Related Risk and Protective Factors

Linking Administrative Data to Improve Understanding of Child Maltreatment Incidence and Related Risk and Protective Factors

A Feasibility Study
Published: Nov 30, 2021
Publisher: Mathematica
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Associated Project

Child Maltreatment Incidence Data Linkages (CMI Data Linkages)

Time frame: 2017–2022

Prepared for:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation

Clients
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Authors

Andrea Mraz Esposito

Leah Pranschke

Andrew Burwick

Rebekka Nickman

Key Findings
  • The feasibility study identified promising methods or practices, within and across the sites, for linking administrative data to inform understanding of the incidence of child maltreatment and related risk.
  • Contextual and organizational factors including child welfare system structures, child welfare policies and definitions, the legal and policy contexts for data use, and the existing data infrastructure influenced the feasibility of enhancing data linkages.
  • The experiences of the sites offer evidence that enhancing administrative data linkages is a feasible approach to addressing high-priority questions about child maltreatment incidence and related risk and protective factors.
  • Each site was able to accomplish its intended enhancement and yield novel information from it.

Accurate and ongoing surveillance of the incidence of child maltreatment and related risk and protective factors can help to inform policy and programs as well as shape prevention and intervention efforts. One promising approach to capturing this information is by linking local, state, or federal administrative records, such as those from child welfare, health, social services, education, public safety, and other agencies.

This project identified five research groups (sites) with experience using linked administrative data to examine child maltreatment incidence and related risk and protective factors and supported these sites to enhance their approaches to administrative data linkage through acquisition of new data sources, use of new methods, or replication of existing methods. The project team conducted a study to assess the feasibility of enhancing data linkage and analysis efforts to produce new information on child maltreatment and to identify promising practices and contextual and organizational factors related to using linked administrative data.

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