Predicting maltreatment recurrence among CPS cases with alcohol and other drug involvement

Tamara L. Fuller, Susan J. Wells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The prevention of maltreatment of recurrence is of utmost importance for Child Protective Services (CPS). Recent research has identified several factors that consistently predict maltreatment recurrence; however, these studies have assumed that the risks for recurrence are the same for all families who come to the attention of CPS. It seems likely, however, that the dynamics associated with certain family problems would elevate the risks associated with some factors and diminish the risk of others. Evidence suggests that the number of CPS cases involving families with alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems is increasing, which presents unique challenges to CPS workers who must be able to determine how a parent's substance use affects their child's safety. The current study examined the factors that are predictive of short-term (e.g. within 60 days) maltreatment recurrence among CPS cases with AOD involvement. Data was collected from 95 indicated investigations that involved caretaker AOD use as part of the maltreatment allegation. Analyses revealed that four factors were related to an increased risk of short-term maltreatment recurrence: 1) the safety assessment factor involving caretaker AOD use checked "yes;" 2) a high risk assessment rating for caretaker criminal behavior; 3) no policy involvement during the investigation; and 4) families headed by single, African-American women. The implications of these findings for CPS practice are discussed in detail.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-569
Number of pages17
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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