Child maltreatment and the use of social services Academic Article uri icon


  • A secondary analysis of 100 case histories selected from social service records in a county department of social services (DSS) was conducted to examine the amount and kind of social services that persons identified as having maltreated a child received. Other objectives of the analysis were to observe the pattern of social service utilization over time and to discover what, if any, factors were associated with receiving social services. To accomplish these study objectives, two groups were selected for analysis: a target group of 50 families that had been reported to the county DSS for child maltreatment and a group of 50 families that had never been so reported. Both groups were composed mainly of young and socioeconomically deprived families that were characterized by poor incomes, little education, and low occupational levels. Analyses revealed significant differences in the amount and type of social services used by families in the target group and the comparison group. Although family structure was found to be related to the total amount of social service utilization, the degree of social disorganization within the family did not correlate with utilization. The study results indicate that the level of social services that protective service clients need and the level that they are actually getting should be re-examined.

published proceedings

  • Public Health Reports

author list (cited authors)

  • Ory, M. G., & Earp, J.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Ory, MG||Earp, JAL

publication date

  • December 1981