Hélie and Bouchard analyze research on child maltreatment recurrence reporting by reviewing American studies of recurrence rates by three research teams: Fluke, Yuan and Edwards (1999), English and Marshall (1999), and Depanfilis and Zuravin (1999).
The authors draw out themes from related literature on factors that lead to recurrence in child maltreatment reporting. These include the passage of time, the age of the child, post-investigation service provision and the presence of child neglect at the time of the initial referral. They conclude that there is both consensus and divergence within literature related to those factors that predict child maltreatment recurrence; post-investigation service provision and the presence of child neglect were those factors most disagreed upon. The authors argue that there are methodological limitations within much of the child welfare literature on recurrence rates whereby a significant proportion of studies look at substantiated maltreatment cases only. They discuss topic areas that merit further exploration including differences between cases involving single recurrence of maltreatment versus multiple maltreatment recurrence, and substantiated versus unsubstantiated cases.