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Child Maltreatment Allegation & Substantiation Rates

Notes on Source Data

IMPORTANT NOTE: On February 27, 2020, this public site was updated to improve navigation, highlight data visualizations, and offer many other new features. At the same time, to protect the privacy of individuals served by CDSS and comply with CDSS data de-identification guidelines, some previously available views of the data were removed. As a result, the following methodology may include references to features not currently available on the public site. An additional change: percentage calculations now include the category Missing, if present. Previously Missing was excluded from percentage calculations. This change supports adherence to data de-identification guidelines and allows users to identify trends in missing data. With the Q1 2020 extract, this change was implemented on the secure site.

These reports compute annual Allegation and Substantiation Rates based on population projections from the California Department of Finance. Please consult the Population methodology for important details.

The statewide Allegation Rate for a given year is computed by dividing the unduplicated state count of children with a child maltreatment allegation by the state child population and then multiplying by 1,000 (for an allegation rate per 1,000 children in the population). Similarly, each county's allegation rate for a given year is calculated by dividing the unduplicated county count of children with a child maltreatment allegation by the county child population and then multiplying by 1,000.

The Substantiation Rate (both state and county) for a given year is computed by dividing the unduplicated count of children with a substantiated allegation by the child population and multiplying by 1,000. The ‘% of allegations’ is calculated by dividing the Substantiation Rate by the Allegation Rate.

This differs from other allegation reports and for this reason the reports are not directly comparable. CLICK HERE for details.

Entry Rates are calculated as described above, but by taking the total count of children entering foster care for a given time period (either as a First Entry, or as a Reentry). The ‘% of substantiations’ is calculated by dividing the Entry Rate by the Substantiation Rate.

Entry Rates will correspond to the Foster Care Entries Reports only when the “All Children Entering” option is chosen (as this restricts the count of foster care entries to unique children).

Rates are not calculated for children with missing county assignment since there is no corresponding population level data. Children with missing county assignment are included in the statewide calculation. In addition, children with allegations, substantiated allegations, and entries may be counted in more than one county during a year, but are only counted once statewide. Given these methods, county values may not sum to the statewide total.

Cells containing a period (".") represent a value of zero. In cells representing quotients, a period may also indicate the indeterminate form 0/0.

Data are also available broken out by age, ethnicity, and gender. See the links below for details:

Age Group

Ethnic Group

Sex at Birth