Pilot CWS-R-SAP – v. 1 Current CWS, 7. NIS-4

Pilot Child Welfare System Redesign

Strategic Action Plan


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7. Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS-4)[1]


“The National Incidence Study (NIS) is a congressionally mandated, periodic effort of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. In 1974, Public Law (P.L.) 93–247 mandated the first NIS (NIS–1), which collected data in 1979 and 1980. The NIS–2 was mandated under P.L. 98–457 (1984) and collected data in 1986. The NIS–3, mandated by the Child Abuse Prevention, Adoption, and Family Services Act of 1988 (P.L. 100–294) and the Child Abuse, Domestic Violence, Adoption and Family Services Act of 1992 (P.L. 102–295), collected data in 1993. The Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-36) mandated the NIS–4, which collected data in 2005 and 2006. The principal objectives of the NIS–4 were to provide updated estimates of the incidence of child abuse and neglect in the United States and measure changes in incidence from the earlier studies.”[2] [bolding added for emphasis]


“While the NIS includes children who were investigated by CPS agencies, it also obtains data on other children who were not reported to CPS or who were screened out by CPS without investigation. These additional children were recognized as maltreated by community professionals. Thus, the NIS estimates include both abused and neglected children who are in the official CPS statistics and those who are not.”[3] [bolding added for emphasis]



The charts[4] on the following pages compare the percentage of the total maltreatment cases found in NIS-4 that were investigated by CPS and the percentage that were not investigated by CPS. Analysis of the data from the charts starts on the page following the charts. Additional charts following the analysis are also from the same NIS-4 source.[5]



[1] Sedlak, A.J., Mettenburg, J., Basena, M., Petta, I., McPherson, K., Greene, A., and Li, S. (2010). Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS–4): Report to Congress, Executive Summary. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Sedlak, A.J. and Basena, M. (2014). Online Access to the Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect. Rockville, MD: Westat. Available: http://www.nis4.org

[5] Ibid.


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To submit questions or comments, please email Jo@Jo-Calk.com. I welcome all input, ideas, and suggestions. Thank you for caring for children.


Jo Calk