Child maltreatment identification rates in a child development center: suggestions for improved detection

Mitchell Schertz, Yael Karni-Visel, Irit Hershkowitz, Michal Flaisher, Fabienne Hershkowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Under-identification of child maltreatment (CM) remains a significant problem. The study aim was to examine rates of CM identification in a child development center (CDC) vs. a community clinic (CC). This was a cross-sectional study, involving study (CDC) and comparison groups (CC) and using administrative data for the period 2011–2015. The study group consisted of children 0–18 years belonging to the Meuhedet Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)—Northern Region, who attended the CDC, including satellite clinics, for assessment/treatment. The CDC employed a multi-disciplinary approach to improve CM identification. The comparison group consisted of children with a disability belonging to the HMO, who attended a CC, but were not known to the CDC. Rates of CM identification, socio-demographic characteristics, and disability severity were compared. CM identification during the study period was 2.1% for the CDC vs. 0.8% for the CC. Children visiting the CDC had five times higher odds to be identified with suspected CM than children in the CC, after adjusting for age, gender, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and disability severity. Conclusion: CM identification rates in children with disability were higher in a CDC vs. CC. The approach used in the CDC may significantly improve CM identification in children with disability.What is Known:• There is significant under-identification of CM.What is New:• By examining child maltreatment identification rates in a child development center vs. the community, the study found that a multi-disciplinary staff approach can significantly improve CM Identification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1081-1087
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • Child development center
  • Child maltreatment
  • Identification
  • Multi-disciplinary approach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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