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December 2013Vol. 14, No. 9The Science of Child Abuse and Neglect Research

In 1993, the National Research Council released Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect, a report that made recommendations on child welfare research. In 2012, the Administration on Children, Youth and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asked the National Academies to update the 1993 publication and provide new recommendations. The National Academies appointed a committee composed of experts from relevant fields, including pediatrics, psychology, social work, legal studies, and more, to conduct this study and draft its final report, New Directions in Child Abuse and Neglect Research, which was released in 2013. This report reviews child abuse and neglect research from the past 20 years and provides recommendations in four areas:

  • Developing a national research plan that is focused on priority topics and includes implementation and accountability steps across Federal agencies
  • Creating a national system to link data across multiple systems and sources
  • Developing the structures necessary to train researchers to conduct child maltreatment research
  • Creating mechanisms for conducting policy-relevant research

To view the full 2013 report, visit