Maltreatment Risk
Variable Definitions

Metrics specific to maltreatment risk among infants to 9 years old

Disability benefits

Percent of adults 35 to 64 who are receiving SSN benefits for a qualifying disability

Having a relatively large proportion of adults receiving disability benefits can be driven by two processes. The first process is that adults in the community tend to be employed in jobs and sectors with high rates of injury. The second process is that the community has a high percent of adults with debilitating mental health disorders or substance use disorders. To help understand these two processes in a community, we recommend looking at this variable in conjunction with other data. In particular, if a community is in the high range of this variable, we recommend looking at the community’s prenatal drug exposure rate. If both are high, it is likely that the community may also suffer from high rates of substance use and poor access to mental health/substance use treatment.

Father named on birth certificate

Percent of babies with the father named on the birth certificate

Positive father involvement during pregnancy and after are a major protective factor for a variety of family outcomes. Research shows that when the father is named on the birth certificate, even when the parents are not married, it is an indication of involvement during pregnancy. In communities with low rates of father’s not being named on the birth certificate, consideration needs to be given towards supporting and encouraging positive father involvement, but also recognizing that mothers without a positive partner need more support during pregnancy and after to help mitigate the stress of this time.

Breastfed in hospital

Percent of infants breastfed in the hospital

Breastfeeding before discharge from the hospital is an important metric for breastfeeding continuation. The health benefits of breastfeeding are well established. In addition, early breastfeeding can also help encourage bonding between the parent and baby.

Management positions

Percent of workers employed in a management position

Employment sector positions were divided into service sector and management sector jobs to estimate wage potential in the community. Service sector positions tend to lower paying than managerial sector jobs. Communities that are identified as Low Income have lower employment in management positions.

Less than a high school education

Percent of Population 25 and older with less that a high school diploma

Concentration of population with low education can also reflect the wage-earning potential of the community. These data were estimated for those over the age of 25 to correct for the time it takes a part-time student to complete a college education. Communities that are identified as Low Income tend to have higher concentrations of adults with low education attainment.

Some college

Percent of population 25 and older at least some college

Concentration of population with higher education can also reflect the wage-earning potential of the community. These data were estimated for those over the age of 25 to correct for the time it takes a part-time student to complete a college education.

Median home value

Median home value of owner-occupied homes

Median home value for owner-occupied homes can reflect both the income of the community and the affordability of the community. We encourage organizations to take a deeper dive into this data point to understand it in the communities they serve.

Adult insurance coverage

Percent of 19- to 44-year-olds with health insurance

This variable reflects the adult population without health insurance. Given that this is an indicator of low-income communities, coupled with the high percentage of working adults in service sector jobs, it is important to recognize that many uninsured adults are working.

WIC use at birth

Percent of babies born to a mother receiving WIC benefits

The Women Infant and Children supplemental nutrition plan is an asset to families. Use of WIC at birth is considered positive and WIC use has been tied to several positive outcomes for families in economically disadvantaged situations.

Deliveries to a teen mother

Ratio of all hospital-based deliveries that were to a mother younger than 18 years old

We estimate the percent of births in the community to a teen mother two ways. This measure is used in the models and is estimated from the total number of hospital-based births to a teen. Due to limitations of the hospital data, this measure is not as precise as when teen births are estimated from the birth vital records data.

Children in poverty

Percent of population younger than 18 living at or below federal poverty level

Children in poverty is the percentage of children in the population who live in a household whose income is less than the federal poverty level. It is important to point out that this percent is less than the percent of children that would be eligible for many safety nets services as these services have income eligibility levels above this level.

Families in poverty

Percent of families with at least one child living at or below the federal poverty level

Families with at least one child and below the federal poverty level. This data points reflects households with children, not individual children.

SNAP use

Percent of children living in a family who received SNAP benefits

As with children in poverty, this measure represents the precent of children whose family has received SNAP in the past year. SNAP, like several other programs, can have a profound protective impact on the family. When viewing and interpreting this data point it is also important to also consider poverty, WIC use, and employment metrics to understand how these metrics are interacting in the community.

Fall related injuries

Ratio of emergency department visits or hospitalization for a fall per 10,000 children 0- to 17-years old

Falls are the leading cause of injury for children younger than the age of 5 and the second leading cause for children older than 5.

Transportation related injuries

Ratio of emergency department visits or hospitalization for a transportation related injury per 10,000 children 0- to 17-years old

Transportation incidences are the leading cause of injury for children older than the age of 5.

Infant emergency department visits

Ratio of infants with any emergency department visit per 10,000 infants in population

Infant emergency department visits are not just injuries, but also sick visits. Infant ED visits have been seen as an important metric for community health. This metric can be reflective of health literacy in the community or access to primary care.

Enrolled in childcare

Percent of 3- and 4-year-olds enrolled in formal childcare

These data reflect the percent of children in a formal preschool or daycare setting. These data do not necessarily reflect children in informal daycare situations. For communities with a high percent of children enrolled, we see better access to formal childcare including Head Start. For these communities, we emphasis how childcare access is an asset.

Enrolled in formal education

Percent of 18- and 19-year-olds enrolled in some sort of education

Low percentages of 18- to 19-year-olds enrolled in formal school reflects two processes in the community. One these data might reflect a high dropout rate among teens. The second issue is that these data may reflect a poor high school to college/technical school pipeline in the community.

Assaults resulting in medical care

Ratio of emergency department visits or hospitalization due to assaults per 10,000 15-to 44-year-olds

This metric reflects the level of violent crime involvement in the community. Unlike other crime statistics, this metric reflects where the individual involved lived, not where the incident took place. However, this metric only includes those incidences severe enough that medical attention was required. A low ratio on this metric does not necessarily reflect a low crime rate in the community, as petty crime and larceny is not included. However, a high rate does indicate a high level of violent criminal involvement in the community.

Infant mortality

Rate of infant death per 1,000 live births

Infant mortality, like infant maltreatment is a multifaceted problem with no one clear cause or approach to prevent it. However, we do see that infant mortality and infant maltreatment tend to be correlated in communities. This indicates that there are shared underlying factors contributing to both, outside of the ones named here. For communities with high infant mortality rate, we recommend that they partner with local Health Texas Babies coalitions and other local infant mortality reduction programs.

Metrics specific to maltreatment risk among children 10 to 17 years old

Unintentional injuries resulting in hospital visit per 10,000 10- to 17-year-olds

Ratio of emergency department visits or hospitalization due to unintentional injuries per 10,000 10- to 17-year-olds

As with other injury metrics, unintentional injuries (those not caused by another person, or self-inflicted) can reflect a multifaceted problem from health literacy to access to primary care to low parental monitoring. As with other injury metrics, we recommend partnering with injury prevention programs in the area to gain a better understanding of the underlying drivers of this metric in your community.

Prenatal drug exposure per 1,000 births

Ratio of babies born with an indication of prenatal drug exposure per 1,000 babies born in a hospital

Communities with high prenatal drug exposure tend to also have high substance use rates among adults generally. Rates of prenatal drug exposure reflect general drug use in the community.

Assaults per 10,000 adults (18-44 yrs old) resulting in medical care

Ratio of emergency department visits or hospitalization due to assaults to 10,000 18- to 44-year-olds

This metric reflects the level of violent crime involvement in the community among adults. Unlike other crime statistics, this metric reflects where the individual involved lived, not where the incident took place. This adult metric is important for both 10-14 year old and 15-17 year old maltreatment risk.

Assaults per 10,000 adolescents resulting in medical care

Ratio of emergency department visits or hospitalization due to assaults per 10,000 15- to 17-year-olds

This metric reflects the level of violent crime involvement in the community among teens. This teen metric is primarily important for 15-17 year old maltreatment risk.

Substance use related hospital visits per 10,000 18- to 44-year olds

Ratio of emergency department visits or hospitalization that involved substance use per 10,000 18- to 44-year olds

This metric reflects severe drug usage that resulted in an overdose, a short hospitalization for de-toxification, or admission to a hospital-based substance use program among adults.

Employed in service sector positions

Percent of workers employed in a service sector position

Employment sector positions were divided into service sector and management sector jobs to estimate wage potential in the community. Service sector positions tend to lower paying than managerial sector jobs.

Vacant housing units

Percent of housing units that were vacant

A high concentration of vacant housing units reflects economic decline in the community and a decrease in population. High concentrations of vacant housing has also been tied to poor health in the community and other indications of poor well-being.

Only high school education

Percent of population 25 and older with only a high school diploma or equivalent

Concentration of population with low education can also reflect the wage-earning potential of the community. These data were estimated for those over the age of 25 to correct for the time it takes a part-time student to complete a college education.

Maltreatment risk for 10- to 14-year-olds

Community's predicted maltreatment risk score for 10- to 14-year-olds

Maltreatment risk across age groups is such that the further apart in age, the lower the correlation. For 15 to 17 year olds, they share maltreatment risk with 10 to 14 year olds, but not with younger children. This means that the same underlying risk for maltreatment that we see with 10 to 14 year olds, applies to 15 to 17 year olds. These relationships across ages also means that if an organization want to reduce maltreatment across all age groups, their approach and which communities are targeted may be different for younger and older age groups.