Authors: van der Put CE, Bouwmeester-Landweer MBR, Landsmeer-Beker EA, Wit JM, Dekker FW, Kousemaker NPJ, Baartman HEM
Child Abuse Negl. 2017 Jun 12;70:160-168
For preventive purposes it is important to be able to identify families with a high risk of child maltreatment at an early stage. Therefore we developed an actuarial instrument for screening families with a newborn baby, the Instrument for identification of Parents At Risk for child Abuse and Neglect (IPARAN). The aim of this study was to assess the predictive validity of the IPARAN and to examine whether combining actuarial and clinical methods leads to an improvement of the predictive validity. We examined the predictive validity by calculating several performance indicators (i.e., sensitivity, specificity and the Area Under the receiver operating characteristic Curve [AUC]) in a sample of 4692 Dutch families with newborns. The outcome measure was a report of child maltreatment at Child Protection Services during a follow-up of 3 years. For 17 children (.4%) a report of maltreatment was registered. The predictive validity of the IPARAN was significantly better than chance (AUC=.700, 95% CI [.567-.832]), in contrast to a low value for clinical judgement of nurses of the Youth Health Care Centers (AUC=.591, 95% CI [.422-.759]). The combination of the IPARAN and clinical judgement resulted in the highest predictive validity (AUC=.720, 95% CI [.593-.847]), however, the difference between the methods did not reach statistical significance. The good predictive validity of the IPARAN in combination with clinical judgment of the nurse enables professionals to assess risks at an early stage and to make referrals to early intervention programs.