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Report Card Release, Link to Child Abuse Examined

JAMA Pediatrics; ePub 2018 Dec 17; Bright, et al

An association of school report card release and physical abuse appears to illustrate a unique systems-based opportunity for prevention. This according to a recent retrospective study that reviewed calls to a state child abuse hotline and school report card release dates across a single academic year in Florida. Data were collected in the 64 of 67 Florida counties with report card release dates available (16,960 days). Participants included all children aged 5 to 11 years for whom calls were made; 1,943 verified cases of physical abuse were reported. Researchers found:

  • During the academic year, 167,906 calls came in to the child abuse hotline for children aged 5 to 11 years; 17.8% (n=29,887) of these calls were suspected incidents of physical abuse, and 2,017 (6.7%) of these suspected incidents were later verified as cases of physical abuse before excluding the 3 counties with no release dates available.
  • Among the 1,943 cases included in the analysis, calls resulting in verified reports of child physical abuse occurred at a higher rate on Saturdays after a Friday report card release, compared with Saturdays that do not follow a Friday report card release.

Bright MA, Lynne SD, Masyn KE, Waldman MR. Graber J, Alexander R. Association of Friday school report card release with Saturday incidence rates of agency-verified physical child abuse. [Published online ahead of print December 17, 2018]. JAMA Pediatrics. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.4346.