IOM releases report updating state of research on child abuse and neglect

Dec 13, 2013

By Rena Malai, News staff

The Institute of Medicine released a report in September called “New Directions in Child Abuse and Neglect Research,” which was funded by the Office of Child Abuse and Neglect.

Joan Levy Zlotnik, director of the NASW Social Work Policy Institute, said the previous report, “Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect,” was published in 1993. The new report updates the state of research on child abuse and neglect and provides statistics that indicate changes since then.

“The impact of child abuse and neglect can last a lifetime,” Zlotnik said. “A lot of prevention and treatment models have been developed over the last 20 years, and we now better understand both the lifelong impact of child abuse and neglect as well as the importance of resilience and protective factors.”

Zlotnik was appointed to the IOM consensus committee that examined research findings and gaps in research for the report, and provided recommendations for decreasing child abuse and neglect across the U.S., which the IOM sites as a public health challenge.

The interdisciplinary committee comprised 16 people with diverse backgrounds — including pediatrics, psychology, law, psychiatry and social work — who contributed their expertise to the group’s deliberations.

“It was wonderful to have the voice of three social workers on this committee, which was a substantial change from the 1993 committee,” Zlotnik said.

The purpose of the report is to provide stakeholders and policymakers with comprehensive information on child abuse and neglect. The report’s recommendations address the development of a national strategic plan, creating a national surveillance system, establishing a new generation of dedicated researchers, and making changes in federal and state policy.

According to the IOM, child protective services receive reports each year of child abuse and neglect involving 6 million children, and many more go unreported. The long-term human and fiscal consequences of child abuse and neglect are not relegated to the victims themselves, the institute says. They also impact families, future, relationships and society.

The committee concluded in the report that while there has been great progress in child abuse and neglect research, a coordinated, national research infrastructure with high-level federal support needs to be established and implemented immediately.

To read the report, visit

The Children’s Bureau: 100 Years

NASW Press has released a book titled “The Children’s Bureau: Shaping a Century of Child Welfare Practices, Programs, and Policies.”

The book serves as a centennial marker of the bureau and highlights the ways the bureau has made an impact on the child welfare practices of today. The book builds on NASW’s legacy and support for reprofessionalization, research and publications on child welfare and families in poverty.

Social workers launched the Children’s Bureau in 1912, and it was originally part of the Department of Labor. Today it is a part of the Department of Health and Human Services and is the first federal agency dedicated to improving the lives of children.

For more information on how to purchase: “The Children’s Bureau: Shaping a Century of Child Welfare Practices, Programs, and Policies.”

For more information on the Children’s Bureau, visit and

From the November 2013 NASW News.