Year of Publication



Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration

Committee Chair

Dr. Jeff Talbert

Executive Summary

State-level data on the rate of reported abuse per 1,000 children, as published in the Children’s Bureau’s Annual Child Maltreatment Report, has been used as a metric to rank and compare states’ performance in child welfare. States wish to understand what the rate of reported abuse per 1,000 children means, what state-specific policies and issues can affect this number, and how to interpret the data to make effective policy decisions. This paper studies the effects of having mandated reporting laws that require all citizens to report reasonable suspicion of abuse to Child Protective Services on a state’s rate of reported abuse per 1,000 children and the rate of substantiated cases. The results of this study find that having mandated reporting laws for all citizens does not affect the rate of reported abuse or the rate of substantiated cases for a state.