On April 14, the Schubert Center hosted Dr. Merav Jedwab, a postdoctoral fellow from the University of Maryland and the Haruv Institute in Israel, for a talk titled, “Decision-Making in Child Protective Services: Perspectives from Israel and the U.S. Longscan Project.” The event was co-sponsored by the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development at the Mandel School.
Dr. Jedwab first highlighted differences between how child protective services operates in Israel versus in the US. She then presented the findings from her dissertation research, which investigated how hospital based child protection teams in Israel make decisions about reported cases of child maltreatment. She found that newborns were less likely to have substantiated cases, and that there was a need for more communication between health and social services. She also found that about 46% of substantiated cases of child maltreatment were children that were re-reported with previously unsubstantiated reports.
Finally, Dr. Jedwab highlighted her current research analyzing data from the US Longscan Project. The Longitudinal Studies on Child Abuse and Neglect (Longscan) Project is a consortium of research studies that collects longitudinal data on the etiology and impact of child maltreatment at 5 different sites across the US. Drawing on findings from her previous research she investigated the question of how many children with initial unsubstantiated reports to child protective services would be re-reported to CPS with substantiated claims. Her findings showed that more than half of the initial reports were re-reported and substantiated later. Very young children were at the highest risk of re-reporting. These findings are important for policy and practice. They suggest that the criteria for substantiation of child maltreatment claims should be re-examined to ensure that children’s needs are being met, and they suggest the need for resources that are targeted at young children and their families.