An Examination of Needs, Matched Services, and Child Protective Services Re-Report Among Families With Complex Needs

James D. Simon - Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research


Objective: Matching needs and services among families investigated by child protective services agencies (CPS) may reduce incidents of recidivism, such as re-reports to CPS. Yet, many families under CPS supervision do not receive the matched services they need, or they receive unneeded services. Thus, this study examines the relationship between needs, matched services, and CPS re-report. Method: Data are from a longitudinal study of a community-based prevention initiative aimed at strengthening families at risk of child maltreatment. The sample included 836 caregivers with complex needs whose children remained at home following an initial CPS investigation. The Family Assessment Form was used to measure concrete, educational/parenting, and clinical needs and matched services. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regressions were used to examine relationships among needs, services, a match, and a subsequent CPS report. Results: Concrete needs, educational/parenting needs, and clinical needs involving mental health were appropriately matched; complex needs related to domestic violence and substance use were not well matched. Only matched educational/parenting services were associated with reduced odds of a re-report. Conclusions: Findings suggest that increased attention to educational and parenting factors may be key to improving engagement and reducing re-reports following a CPS investigation.