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Am J Community Psychol. 1988 Oct;16(5):609-24.

The assessment of child abuse potential and the prevention of child abuse and neglect: a policy analysis.

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Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824-1117.

Erratum in

  • Am J Community Psychol 1992 Dec;20(6):811.


A frequently advocated strategy for increasing the efficiency of child abuse prevention programs is to deliver prevention services to "high-risk" populations. This article critically reviews procedures for the reliable and valid assessment of child abuse potential within an ecological perspective. Factors that limit the usefulness of child abuse risk assessment are discussed. These factors include the uncertain criteria of child abuse and neglect, the low base rate of the phenomenon, and the financial and social costs of such procedures. Finally, the prevention implications of the current and future state of the art in child abuse risk assessment are considered and preventive interventions that do not depend on individual case risk screening are advocated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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