• June 2008
  • Vol. 9, No. 5

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The Development and Service Needs of Young Maltreated Children

A recent study explored the developmental characteristics and intervention needs of children in the age group most likely to become involved with the child welfare system—those younger than 3 years. In Developmental Status and Early Intervention Service Needs of Maltreated Children, the authors also examined the challenges of implementing the section of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) requiring that infants and toddlers who are victims of substantiated child maltreatment be referred to early intervention services funded under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

The study drew on data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being and the National Early Intervention Longitudinal Study, along with a literature review and discussions with Part C and child welfare service experts. Findings focus on the risk factors affecting development, developmental outcomes, service receipt, and considerations for successful intervention. Results indicate that:

  • Children under 3 years who have been maltreated are at substantial risk of experiencing subsequent developmental problems.
  • Few of these children have a diagnosed medical condition as described in IDEA that would make them automatically eligible for Part C services.
  • A sizeable proportion of young children with substantiated maltreatment have an Individualized Family Service Plan, reflecting eligibility for Part C services.
  • Part C providers may not be familiar with the unique challenges associated with providing services to maltreated children and their families.

Developmental Status and Early Intervention Service Needs of Maltreated Children, by Richard Barth, Anita Scarborough, E. Christopher Lloyd, Jan Losby, Cecilia Casanueva, and Tammy Mann, was researched and written for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The full report is available on the ASPE website:


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