Urgent need for more research on child maltreatment
Comparative Effectiveness Research
A new research review from AHRQ’s Effective Health Care Program highlights the urgent need to build the evidence base for interventions promoting child well-being and positive child welfare outcomes (permanency, safety, placement stability) among maltreated children. The research examined parenting interventions, trauma-focused treatments, and enhanced foster care interventions with children 14 years of age and younger.
The main finding of the review was that it is too early to make strong recommendations about which interventions best promote positive outcomes for maltreated children. Two interventions emerged with relatively stronger evidence: a home-visiting approach with maltreating parents called SafeCare and a foster parent training program called Keeping Foster Parents Trained and Supported (KEEP). However, more methodologically rigorous research is needed to evaluate these and the many other interventions reviewed for which there is as yet only single trials and evidence undermined by methodological limitations.
Child maltreatment is a global public health problem that creates a significant burden in the United States. In 2010, 5.9 million children were involved in 3.3 million referrals to Child Protective Services (CPS). This issue not only puts a heavy burden on CPS and other child welfare programs, but also on criminal justice, health care, and special education systems. These findings can be found in the research review, Child Exposure to Trauma: Comparative Effectiveness of Interventions Addressing Maltreatment, at http://go.usa.gov/TzV9.