• Repeat Maltreatment in Alaska: Assessment and Exploration of Alternative Measures

      Vadapalli, Diwakar; Passini, Jessica (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2015-12-01)
      Most deaths and serious injuries among children who are abused or neglected are preceded by multiple reported instances of maltreatment. The Office of Children Services (OCS), Alaska’s child protection agency, is very concerned about repeat maltreatment. It’s extremely damaging to children and demoralizing to everyone who tries to help prevent it. Over the last several years, Alaska has consistently had among the highest rates in the country of repeat child maltreatment, as reported by the Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Those federal figures measure the percentage of children who were the victims of at least two substantiated reports—that is, confirmed reports—of maltreatment within six months. In 2009, nearly 10% of children who were the subjects of investigation by OCS were reported as suffering repeat maltreatment, compared with less than 6% nationwide. By 2013, the share in Alaska was at nearly 13%, compared with a national rate of less than 5.5% (Figure S-1). But even those grim federal statistics don’t provide a complete picture of repeat child maltreatment in Alaska. Many analysts believe that not all cases where maltreatment may have occurred are substantiated, and that maltreatment of a child may be reported a number of times, over a longer period, before it is substantiated. Also, for various reasons, many reports of maltreatment are not investigated at all, in Alaska and other states, and only a small share of those that are investigated are substantiated. For example, in Alaska in 2013, 42% of reports in an average month were not investigated, and only 12% of reports were substantiated