Publications: Child Protection

  • Green, M.J., Kariuki, M., Chilvers, M., Butler, M., Katz, I., Burke, S., Tzoumakis, S., Laurens, K.R., Harris, F., Carr, V.C. (2019). Inter-agency indicators of out-of-home-care placement by age 13–14 years: A population record linkage study. Child Abuse & Neglect, 93, 91-102.
This study sought to determine the minimum set of indicators available in cross-agency administrative data that could be used to accurately classify children placed in out-of-home-care, from among the general population. The sample comprised 72,079 children and their parents drawn from the NSW-CDS, of whom 1,239 had been placed in out-of-home-care, 15,367 children who had been reported to child protection services but had no record of out-of-home-care placement, and 55,473 children who had no previous contact with child protection services up to age 13–14 years. A combination of six risk indicators evident before out-of-home-care placement was able to classify children placed in out-of-home-care with approximately 95% accuracy. These findings show that a combination of risk factors available in administrative records held by multiple government agencies may be used to target support services to prevent entry into out-of-home-care for children from vulnerable families.
  • Rossen, L., Tzoumakis, S., Kariuki, M., Laurens, K.R., Butler, M., Chilvers, M., Harris, F., Carr, V.J., Green, M.J. (2019). Timing of the first report and highest level of child protection response in association with early developmental vulnerabilities in an Australian population cohort. Child Abuse & Neglect, 93, 1-12.

This paper examined associations between early developmental vulnerabilities (at age 5 years) and (1) the highest level of child protection response (where out-of-home-care was deemed the highest response among other types of reports/responses), and (2) the timing of the first child protection report during early development. The sample included 67,027 children drawn from the New South Wales Child Development Study, of whom 10,944 were reported to child protection services up to age 5 years. The results indicated that children with substantiated maltreatment reports showed the strongest odds of vulnerability on three or more developmental domains relative to children with no child protection report (followed by children placed in out-of-home-care, then children with unsubstantiated child protection reports). Children placed in out-of-home-care showed slightly better physical, cognitive and communication competencies than those with substantiated reports that did not result in out-of-home-care placements (when each group was compared to children with no child protection reports). Children with first maltreatment reports occurring in the first 18 months of life showed the strongest likelihood of developmental vulnerabilities on three or more developmental domains relative to children with reports in later years of childhood, when each group was compared to children with no child protection reports. The findings show early reports of maltreatment may signal the need for targeted remediation of early developmental competencies to mitigate early developmental difficulties.

  • Green, M.J., Tzoumakis, S., McIntyre, B., Kariuki, M., Laurens, K.R., Dean, K., Chilvers, M., Harris, F., Butler, M., Brinkman, S.A., Carr, V.J. (2018). Childhood maltreatment and early developmental vulnerabilities at age 5 years. Child Development, 89(5), 1599-1612; doi: 10.1111/cdev.12928 (Published online 14 August 2017). 

 The study focused on the effects of early life maltreatment on early childhood developmental outcomes, including examination of the effects of multiple maltreatment types and the timing of maltreatment in a large population sample. We specifically examined associations between the type, and timing of childhood maltreatment and early developmental vulnerabilities in a population sample of 68,459 children (34,562 males) drawn from the New South Wales Child Development Study (NSW-CDS) cohort, using linked administrative data for children and their parents (collected from 2001-2009). The mean age of the child sample was 5.62 years (SD=0.37), and 2,135 children had already been exposed to (substantiated) maltreatment according to child protection records. Exposure to any type of childhood maltreatment was associated with pervasive developmental vulnerability at age 5 years. Children exposed to two or more maltreatment types, and with first maltreatment reported after 3 years of age, showed greater likelihood of vulnerability on multiple developmental domains relative to non-maltreated children. These patterns of association were found in the context of other important risk factors for early childhood developmental vulnerabilities that have been implicated in previous studies (e.g., male sex, maternal smoking during pregnancy).