A latent class analysis of modifiable risk factors associated with child maltreatment re-reporting and recurrence

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Background: Maltreatment re-reporting and recurrence represent missed opportunities for prevention and early intervention in child welfare settings. Objectives: This study identified latent classes of risk among families who experienced a child maltreatment re-report or maltreatment recurrence within 12-months of initial case closure. Participants and setting: Administrative child welfare data from a large urban county were subject to secondary analysis. Samples included children who experienced a maltreatment re-report (n = 4390), and children who experienced a second maltreatment substantiation (n = 694). Methods: Five modifiable risk factors (i.e., mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence, disability, parenting challenges) were extracted from the initial investigation and subject to latent class analysis. Case characteristics (i.e., age, gender, race, ethnicity, maltreatment type) were then compared across the latent classes in a post-hoc analysis. Results: Re-report classes were characterized by (1) “Few Identified Challenges” (56%, n = 2458), (2) “Mental Health and Domestic Violence Challenges” (26%, n = 1133), and (3) “Substance Abuse, Domestic Violence, Mental Health, and Parenting Challenges” (18%, n = 790). Re-report classes differed according to child age, race, ethnicity, neglect and physical abuse allegations. Recurrence classes were characterized by (1) “Domestic Violence Challenges” (48%, n = 333), (2) “Mental Health Challenges” (15%, n = 104), and (3) “Domestic Violence, Mental Health, and Parenting Challenges” (37%, n = 257). Recurrence classes differed according to child race and age. Conclusions: Findings underscore the complex and co-occurring nature of maltreatment risk, and provide insights to strengthen assessment and intervention practices to reduce repeated contacts with child welfare systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105249
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research support is gratefully acknowledged from the Hennepin University Partnership, Hennepin County Minnesota (Award #71891). The information reported herein reflects solely the positions of the authors.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Latent Class Analysis
  • Maltreatment
  • Re-reporting
  • Recurrence


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