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Child Maltreatment, Interventions, 2018

* Indicates an old grade definition

Recommendations: Interventions for Child Maltreatment

  • Child Maltreatment: Interventions -- Children and Adolescents 18 years and younger
    Grade: I
    Specific Recommendations:

      The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of primary care interventions to prevent child maltreatment.

      Children with signs or symptoms suggestive of maltreatment should be assessed or reported according to the applicable state laws.

  • Rationale:


    In 2016, approximately 676,000 children in the United States experienced maltreatment (abuse, neglect, or both), with 75% of these children experiencing neglect, 18% experiencing physical abuse, and 8% experiencing sexual abuse. Approximately 14% of abused children experienced multiple forms of maltreatment, and more than 1700 children died as a result of maltreatment.1

    Benefits of Interventions

    The USPSTF found inadequate evidence that interventions initiated in primary care can prevent maltreatment among children who do not already have signs or symptoms of such maltreatment. The USPSTF deemed the evidence inadequate because of a lack of studies on accurate methods to predict a child’s individual risk of maltreatment and the limited and inconsistent report of outcomes from studies of preventive interventions for maltreatment.

    Harms of Interventions

    The USPSTF found inadequate evidence to assess the harms of preventive interventions for child maltreatment.

    USPSTF Assessment

    Evidence on interventions to prevent child maltreatment is limited and inconsistent; therefore, the USPSTF concludes that the evidence is insufficient to determine the balance of benefits and harms of interventions initiated in primary care to prevent child maltreatment in children and adolescents.

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