New Research and Policy Tools on Child Maltreatment in Military Families

Abuse and neglect are serious concerns for all children, but military families may have unique needs that complicate efforts to prevent abuse and intervene on behalf of those who are at risk. PolicyLab team members are partnering with the Department of Defense to better understand when children in U.S. Army families may be at greatest risk for maltreatment around the time of a parent’s deployment. Our new Research at a Glance brief, “Identifying Opportunities to Address Child Abuse and Neglect in U.S. Army Families”, breaks down recently published research from this body of work showing what characteristics of Army families are associated with a greater risk for child abuse and neglect before, during and after deployment.

Previous PolicyLab research also uncovered that the military may be underreporting cases of child maltreatment due to a breakdown in communication between civilian and military child welfare systems. To aid the repair of a fragmented system that could be letting at-risk children slip through the cracks, we developed a new policy brief, “Improving Child Abuse Reporting and Treatment for Military Families,” that provides evidence-based policy recommendations for military and civilian health care providers, policymakers and the Department of Defense to strengthen reporting practices.