Cumulative Prevalence of Onset and Recurrence of Child Maltreatment Reports

Hyunil Kim, Brett Drake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: We estimated cumulative probabilities of onset and recurrences of child maltreatment reports from birth to age 11 years. Estimates were provided overall and within subcategories of race/ethnicity, sex, and subtype. Method: We developed synthetic life tables from national Child Protective Services records (2003−2016) and Census data. Although 28 states and the District of Columbia were used for estimates due to data quality, sensitivity analyses suggest that our estimates may be very similar to national estimates, with very minor underestimation. Results: The probability of having at least “X-number” of maltreatment reports by age 12 years was 32.41% for 1 report, 13.71% for 2 reports, 7.57% for 3 reports, 4.50% for reports, 2.80% for 5 reports, and 1.79% for 6 reports. Children with more prior reports were more likely to have future reports. The risk increased from 42.31% when having 1 prior report to 64.01% when having 5 prior reports. Asian/Pacific Islanders showed exceptionally lower onset and recurring rates than others. Individuals of nonwhite ethnicity (African American/black, Native American, and Hispanic) had higher onset rates than white individuals. Once initially reported, however, white persons had generally slightly higher rates of recurrence than nonwhite persons. Neglect was the most frequent subtype in both onset and recurring reports. No practical difference existed in overall onset and recurring rates by sex. Conclusion: Many United States children experience reported maltreatment, and many experience repeated or chronic maltreatment. The increased risk of recurring with more prior reports suggests preventive efforts for serially reported children. The large racial disparity at the onset stage disappears at the recurring stages, suggesting interventions prior to the onset.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1175-1183
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • child maltreatment
  • child welfare
  • life table
  • prevalence
  • recurrence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Cumulative Prevalence of Onset and Recurrence of Child Maltreatment Reports'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this