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Understanding child abuse in urban and rural America: Risk factors and maltreatment substantiation

Walsh, W.A. and Mattingly, M.J. – 2012

An issue brief on the substantiation of child abuse and neglect cases in both urban and rural environments, based on an examination of data from the second National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW II). Certain risk factors are common to substantiated cases in both urban and rural families. These include drug and alcohol abuse and family stressors. Notes that domestic violence and parental substance abuse are classified as types of child maltreatment in many states. Younger children have similarly high rates of substantiated cases in urban and rural areas. Urban and rural caregivers share similar risk factors such as substance abuse and mental health problems, domestic violence, and low income and lack of social support. Rural caregivers are more likely to experience domestic violence and cognitive impairment. Multiple risk factors increase the likelihood of case substantiation for both environments. Concludes that child protective services should pay special attention to families with multiple stressors and risk factors. Notes that report substantiation increases the chances that a child will receive services. Improves access to social services is particularly important for rural families.