Assessing the concordance of health and child protection data for 'maltreated' and 'unintentionally injured' children
McKenzie, Kirsten, Scott, Debbie, Fraser, Jennifer A., & Dunne, Michael P. (2011) Assessing the concordance of health and child protection data for 'maltreated' and 'unintentionally injured' children. Injury Prevention.
Objectives: To quantify the concordance of hospital child maltreatment data with child protection service (CPS) records and identify factors associated with linkage.
Methods: Multivariable logistic regression analysis was conducted following retrospective medical record review and database linkage of 884 child records from 20 hospitals and the CPS in Queensland, Australia.
Results: Nearly all children with hospital assigned maltreatment codes (93.1%) had a CPS record. Of these, 85.1% had a recent notification. 29% of the linked maltreatment group (n=113) were not known to CPS prior to the hospital presentation. Almost 1/3 of children with unintentional injury hospital codes were known to CPS. Just over 24% of the linked unintentional injury group (n=34) were not known to CPS prior to the hospital presentation but became known during or after discharge from hospital. These estimates are higher than the 2006/07 annual rate of 2.39% of children being notified to CPS. Rural children were more likely to link to CPS, and children were over 3 times more likely to link if the index injury documentation included additional diagnoses or factors affecting their health.
Conclusions: The system for referring maltreatment cases to CPS is generally efficient, although up to 1 in 15 children had codes for maltreatment but could not be linked to CPS data. The high proportion of children with unintentional injury codes who linked to CPS suggests clinicians and hospital-based child protection staff should be supported by further education and training to ensure children at risk are being detected by the child protection system.
Impact and interest:
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