The Impact of Family Engagement and Child Welfare Services on Maltreatment Re-reports and Substantiated Re-reports

Tamara Fuller, Saijun Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite decades of debate about the most effective ways to intervene with families reported to child protective services (CPS), little evidence exists regarding the types of services or approach that reduce children’s risk of additional maltreatment. The current study used data collected during a statewide experimental evaluation of CPS to examine the impact of numerous service variables, family engagement, and family characteristics on the risk of maltreatment re-reports and substantiated re-reports among families initially reported for neglect and risk of harm. The sample included 4,868 families with screened-in reports that were randomly assigned to receive either an investigation or an assessment. The results of the Cox regression analyses found that service duration, intensity, and breadth were unrelated to maltreatment re-report or substantiated re-reports, but caseworker ratings of the service-need match were associated with both. The provision of domestic violence services was related to decreased risk of maltreatment re-reports. Increased levels of family engagement were associated with lowered risk of both maltreatment re-reports and substantiated re-reports. Once the effects of services, engagement, and family characteristics were taken into account, CPS response pathway (investigation or assessment) had no relationship to maltreatment re-reports or substantiated re-reports.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-193
Number of pages11
JournalChild Maltreatment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017


  • child protective services
  • investigation
  • repeat victimization
  • survival analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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