Online Program

Predicting Child Maltreatment with Risk Terrain Modeling

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 9:10 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Minh-Thuy Bui, MPH, System Planning, Cook Children's Health Care System, Fort Worth, TX
Over 1,500 children died from child abuse and neglect nationally in 2012, and from 2007 to 2011, 36 children died from child abuse while being treated at Tarrant County based, Cook Children’s Medical Center (CCMC). In August 2014, the Texas Association for the Protection of Children ranked Tarrant County in the high risk quartile for child maltreatment with a heightened risk of 51% to 75% compared with the rest of the state. The purpose of this study is to predict geographic areas of potential high risk for maltreatment in Tarrant County and target primary prevention strategies.

Developed by researchers at Rutgers University for the purpose of crime projection, Risk Terrain Modeling (RTM) is the analysis of spatial-temporal interactions between several independent factors, such as locations of high risk businesses, residences, and properties, with a single dependent factor, such as a criminal event. This study utilizes the concepts of RTM to explore the spatial influence of factors related to child maltreatment, such as substance abuse, violence, socioeconomic status, demographics, and behavioral factors, to common geographic units, including commercial, retail, and recreational properties. Rather than relying solely on past events, risk terrain models operationalize and overlap spatial zones of influence for a multitude of known risk factors to predict future incidents with significantly higher accuracy than common heat map projections.

To our knowledge, RTM methodology has not been tested in prior studies related to child maltreatment. Furthermore, the model includes unique factors that have not been previously examined for their compounded spatial influences on the future occurrence of child maltreatment. The results of this prospective analysis will enable researchers and specialists in the field of child maltreatment to target primary prevention strategies before it occurs.

Learning Areas:

Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the concept of Risk Terrain Modeling (RTM). Discuss the application of RTM concepts and principles to identifying hot spots for child maltreatment. Compare the spatial influence of individual risk factors on child maltreatment. Design a spatial logistic model using identified risk factors related to child maltreatment to identify specific hot spots for highest risk.

Keyword(s): Child Abuse, Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a Prevention Specialist in the field of substance abuse and family violence. I am currently a data analyst with special interest in the application of GIS technology for the prevention of child maltreatment.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.