For children hospitalized with maltreatment, the likelihood of being reported to child protection services (CPS) is influenced by health insurance coverage and maternal race, according to a study published online July 18 in Pediatrics.
Rebecca Rebbe, Ph.D., from the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues examined the likelihood of children younger than 3 years hospitalized because of child abuse and neglect-related injuries being reported to CPS. Data were included for 3,907 children hospitalized because of child maltreatment.
The researchers found that among children hospitalized because of child maltreatment, the likelihood of being reported to CPS was increased for those with public versus private health insurance (relative risk, 1.29) and was lower for those with Asian/Pacific Islander versus White mothers (relative risk, 0.78). For CPS reporting, there were no differences observed for children with Black, Hispanic, and Native American mothers versus White mothers. The likelihood of having a specific maltreatment diagnostic code, the second strongest predictor of a CPS report, was increased for children with Native American mothers and with public health insurance (relative risks, 1.45 and 2.00, respectively).
“Policies and trainings combatting implicit bias are necessary to ensure race and poverty do not affect these crucial decision points regarding the intervention of child maltreatment,” the authors write.