Reported maltreatment of children with multiple disabilities

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This study examined a population of children with multiple disabilities to investigate whether functional, developmental, or perinatal factors could differentiate children reported and substantiated as maltreated from those not so reported. Data were collected from medical records of a cohort of 500 children evaluated between 1973 and 1984 at the Kennedy Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. Maltreatment reporting was documented through the State of Maryland Abuse Registry and the counties of residence of all study children. Results indicated that the profiles of demographic and family characteristics associated with child maltreatment reporting in this population are consistent with the literature, but child functional and developmental characteristics were not confirmed as risk factors for substantiated maltreatment reports. Indeed, contrary to investigator expectations, the more severely disabled children, in terms of functioning, appeared at less risk of maltreatment than did disabled children functioning at more age-appropriate levels.

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