Do Standards of Proof Affect Decision Making in Child Protection Investigations?
- Murray Levine
- … show all 1 hide
Every state investigates child maltreatment reports. Some states use a lower standard of proof of “some credible evidence” (or similar terms) to substantiate cases after investigation. Other state legislatures prescribe a higher standard of “preponderance” of the evidence. Legislatures use these terms of art as a matter of policy to control the risk of false-positive errors. A lower rate of substantiation should follow from a higher standard of proof. There was no statistically significant difference in the percent of substantiated and the percent of unsubstantiated cases in the two groups of states. If state policy to reduce the false-positive error rate is to be effective, something more is required than simply manipulating the verbal formula in legislation.
- Addington v Texas, 441 U. S. 418 (1979).
- Black, H. C. (1979) Black's law dictionary. West, St. Paul, MN
- Flango, V. E. (1991) Can central registries improve substantiation rates in child abuse and neglect cases?. Child Abuse and Neglect 15: pp. 403-413 CrossRef
- Kagehiro, D. K., Stanton, W. C. (1985) Legal vs. quantified definitions of standards of proof. Law and Human Behavior 9: pp. 159-178
- The impact of mandated reporting on the therapeutic process. Picking up the pieces. Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA
- McCauliff, C. M. A. (1982) Burdens of proof: Degrees of belief, quanta of evidence, or constitutional guarantees. Vanderbilt Law Review 35: pp. 1293-1335
- Miller, J. S., Williams, K. M., English, D. J., Olmstead, J. (1987) Risk assessment in child protection: A review of the literature. The Risk Assessment Evaluation Project. Division of Children and Family Services, Department of Social and Health Services, Olympia, WA
- Child maltreatment 1994: Reports from the states to the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect. 22-10058. National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, Washington, DC
- Santosky v Kramer, 455 U.S. 745 (1982).
- Valmonte v Bane, 18 F. 3rd 992 (2nd Cir. 1994).
- Wilcox, B. L. (1997, July). Child abuse reports and substantiations: A state-wide study of changing patterns. Paper presented at Congressional Staff Luncheon Briefing, sponsored by the Consortium on Children, Families and the Law.
- Do Standards of Proof Affect Decision Making in Child Protection Investigations?
Law and Human Behavior
Volume 22, Issue 3 , pp 341-347
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers
- Additional Links
- Murray Levine (1)
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of Psychology, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, 14260;