Skip Navigation Archive: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Archive: Agency for Healthcare Research Quality
Archival print banner

This information is for reference purposes only. It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing this information should contact us at: Let us know the nature of the problem, the Web address of what you want, and your contact information.

Please go to for current information.

  • Publication # 13-RA009

Urgent need for more research on child maltreatment

Comparative Effectiveness Research

A new research review from AHRQ’s Effective Health Care Program highlights the urgent need to build the evidence base for interventions promoting child well-being and positive child welfare outcomes (permanency, safety, placement stability) among maltreated children. The research examined parenting interventions, trauma-focused treatments, and enhanced foster care interventions with children 14 years of age and younger. 

The main finding of the review was that it is too early to make strong recommendations about which interventions best promote positive outcomes for maltreated children. Two interventions emerged with relatively stronger evidence: a home-visiting approach with maltreating parents called SafeCare and a foster parent training program called Keeping Foster Parents Trained and Supported (KEEP). However, more methodologically rigorous research is needed to evaluate these and the many other interventions reviewed for which there is as yet only single trials and evidence undermined by methodological limitations. 

Child maltreatment is a global public health problem that creates a significant burden in the United States. In 2010, 5.9 million children were involved in 3.3 million referrals to Child Protective Services (CPS). This issue not only puts a heavy burden on CPS and other child welfare programs, but also on criminal justice, health care, and special education systems. These findings can be found in the research review, Child Exposure to Trauma: Comparative Effectiveness of Interventions Addressing Maltreatment, at

Page last reviewed June 2013
Internet Citation: Urgent need for more research on child maltreatment: Comparative Effectiveness Research. June 2013. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care