College of Sciences


Ph.D. Clinical Psychology

Publication Date



Child maltreatment takes on numerous forms, including physical abuse, psychological abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect, and affects an estimated 38% of children in the United States (U.S.). Due to the deleterious effects of maltreatment, 48 states mandate most health professionals to report suspected abuse and neglect. Yet, only 14 states specifically require substance abuse counselors to report suspected abuse and neglect. Substance abuse is commonly implicated in maltreatment cases, with an estimated 40 to 70 percent involving alcohol or drug use among perpetrators, which points to the importance of examining the association between substance abuse counselor reporting and the outcome of reports. The present study seeks to examine how state-level mandatory reporting policies are associated with child maltreatment reporting through analysis of the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect (NDACAN), which is a national repository of child maltreatment reports. Specifically, this study aims: 1) to examine how the implementation of substance abuse counselor reporting requirements is associated with the reporting process, including the disposition of reports and the presence of substance abuse; and 2) to examine differences in the above outcomes based on whether there were non-specific reporting requirements vs. requirements that mention substance use counselors specifically. It is expected that there will be a higher proportion of substantiated Child Protective Services (CPS) reports when and in states where substance abuse counselors are mandated to report suspected child abuse or neglect. If these differences do indeed exist, this finding would point to a benefit of requiring such professionals to report, which could aid in informing future policy.





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The Impact of Mandatory Substance Abuse Counselor Reporting Requirements on Child Maltreatment Reporting Outcomes



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