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Preventing Child Maltreatment Not Yet Feasible in Primary Care

TUESDAY, May 22, 2018 -- The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) concludes that the evidence is inadequate for primary care interventions to prevent maltreatment. These findings form the basis of a draft recommendation statement published online May 22 by the USPSTF.

Researchers from the USPSTF reviewed the evidence relating to the benefits and harms of preventive care services initiated in primary care for patients without signs or symptoms of child maltreatment.

The researchers found inadequate evidence that interventions initiated in primary care can prevent maltreatment among children without signs or symptoms of such maltreatment. There was a lack of accurate methods to predict a child's individual risk of maltreatment, as well as heterogeneity in types of preventive interventions for maltreatment. Inadequate evidence was found to examine the magnitude of the harms of interventions. Based on these findings, the USPSTF concluded that the evidence was inadequate to assess the balance of benefits and harms of primary care interventions to prevent child maltreatment. These findings form the basis of a draft recommendation statement, posted for public comment from May 22 to June 18, 2018.

"No child should suffer from abuse or neglect," Task Force member Alex R. Kemper, M.D., M.P.H., said in a statement. "Unfortunately, we still do not have the evidence we need about what primary care clinicians can do to prevent child maltreatment before it occurs in children who do not show any signs of abuse or neglect."

Draft Evidence Review
Draft Recommendation Statement
Comment on Recommendation Statement

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Posted: May 2018

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