ASU Now: A better understanding of child neglect

Monday, May 14, 2018

ASU Now reported that by far the most common form of child abuse is neglect, which accounts for 70 percent of all reports to the hotline run by the Arizona Department of Child Safety.

To address this, a research team at Arizona State University's Morrison Institute for Public Policy combed through 800 child-abuse reports to help the experts better understand neglect in the state.

“Spotlight on Arizona's Kids” is a project funded by a three-year, $380,000 grant from the Arizona Community Foundation in response to an urgent need for information, according to Erica Quintana, the policy analyst who is leading the project.

“Everyone focuses on the severe abuse cases and neglect gets pushed to the side,” Quintana said.

Neglect often can get progressively worse, increasing the risk that a child will be removed, “so the idea of this project is to prevent that from happening, to intervene when that family is drifting and to get them help before they ever get to DCS’s doorstep,” she said.

Right now, the way the state reporting systems are set up, all of neglect is categorized into one large category, although children can experience difference types of neglect.

Quintana said they were able to create a framework of five types of neglect: supervisory, physical, medical, emotional and substance-exposed and took the information to professionals in six Arizona counties who deal with child abuse to seek feedback.

The report released is a summary of those conversations, which found issues unique to some areas as well as a lot in common. The next phase of the project will be a geographical analysis of what services are provided and what is needed.

“There are only a few regions that have done this type of analysis, and it speaks to Arizona’s willingness to learn more and do better,” Quintana said.

READ: ASU team helps state address the most vulnerable population of children

RELATED: Child Neglect: Voices from Arizona Communities