and to establish a foundation for improving the quality of future policy and program efforts to address the problem.

3.  Treatment and Prevention of Child Maltreatment. Determine the strengths and limitations of existing approaches and interventions in preventing and treating child maltreatment to guide the development of new and more effective interventions.

4.  A Science Policy for Research on Child Maltreatment. Develop a science policy for child maltreatment research that recognizes the importance of developing national leadership, human resources, instrumentation, financial resources, and appropriate institutional arrangements for child maltreatment research.

By pursuing this agenda, the report argued, researchers could “develop knowledge that can improve understanding of, and response to, child maltreatment.”


Nearly 20 years later, on January 30-31, 2012, the Board on Children, Youth, and Families at the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the NRC held a workshop to review the accomplishments of the past two decades of research related to child maltreatment and the remaining gaps. “There have been many exciting research discoveries since the ’93 report,” said Anne Petersen, research professor at the Center for Human Growth and Development at the University of Michigan. She was chair of the panel that produced the report and also chaired the planning committee for the workshop. “But we also want people to be thinking about what is missing.”

The workshop brought together many leading U.S. child maltreatment researchers for a day and a half of presentations and discussions. Presenters were asked to review research accomplishments, identify gaps that remain in knowledge, and consider potential research priorities. A background paper highlighting major research advances since the publication of the 1993 NRC report was prepared by an independent consultant to inform the workshop discussions; this paper is included in Appendix D. In the past two decades, there has also been significant progress in research on child development more generally, but it was beyond the scope of the workshop to consider this broader topic (see Box 1).

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