Police involvement in child protective services investigations: Literature review and secondary data analysis

Theodore P. Cross, David Finkelhor, Richard Ormrod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article examines the relationship of police and child protective services (CPS) coinvolvement to the outcomes of child maltreatment investigations. It reviews practice and empirical literature and conducts a secondary analysis of a national CPS data set. Most sources argue that coordination of the two agencies improves investigations and benefits children and families. Yet, sources also report friction between these agencies, interference with each other's job, and concerns that police involvement increases child removal. In the CPS case data, allegations were more likely to be judged credible when police also investigated and families were also more likely to receive various services. For neglect cases, multi-disciplinary decision making, but not police involvement per se, was linked to child removal. Across studies, police do not appear to hinder CPS effectiveness and may actually promote it. Their investigations should be coordinated in every community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-244
Number of pages21
JournalChild Maltreatment
Volume10
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Child abuse
  • Child maltreatment
  • Child protection
  • Child protective services
  • Law enforcement
  • Multidisciplinary team
  • Police

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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