Objectives. To document, via linked administrative data, the cumulative prevalence among New Zealand children of notifications to child protective services (CPS), substantiated maltreatment cases, and out-of-home placements.
Methods. We followed all children born in New Zealand in 1998 until the end of 2015 (an overall sample of 55 443 children). We determined the cumulative frequencies of notifications, substantiated maltreatment cases (by subtype), and first entries into foster care from birth through the age of 17 years. We also decomposed CPS involvement by gender.
Results. We found that almost 1 in 4 children had been subject to at least 1 report to CPS at age 17 years (23.5%), and 9.7% had been a victim of substantiated abuse or neglect. We also found that 3.1% had experienced out-of-home placements by age 17 years, with boys being more affected.
Conclusions. Both notifications and substantiated child maltreatment are more common in New Zealand than is generally recognized, with the incidence of notifications higher than the incidence of medicated asthma among children and the prevalence of substantiations similar to the prevalence of obesity.
- Bénédicte Rouland is with the Centre for Social Data Analytics, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand, and the TrygFonden’s Centre for Child Research, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark. Rhema Vaithianathan is with the Centre for Social Data Analytics, Auckland University of Technology, and the School of Economics, Singapore Management University.