Data archive on child abuse renewed with $3.6 million

By Karene Booker

John Eckenrode


In 2009 some 1,770 children died from maltreatment by parents or caregivers and 702,000 were victims of abuse or neglect, according to the latest statistics.

Recognizing the value of the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect (NDACAN), part of the Family Life Development Center at Cornell, to combat child maltreatment, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Children's Bureau has renewed the archive's funding with $3.6 million over the next five years.

NDACAN makes high-quality datasets available for researchers nationwide to study child maltreatment. Analysis of this data is used to better understand child abuse and neglect, identify new approaches to prevention and shed light on the effectiveness of programs to protect children and strengthen families. The archive houses data from individual studies as well as from annual federal data collection efforts, such as state child abuse and neglect and foster care statistics. NDACAN prepares these datasets for further analysis and provides training and technical assistance for users of the data.

NDACAN services include an annual summer research institute to assist child maltreatment researchers with their research projects and an e-mail list to facilitate information exchange and networking among more than 1,000 subscribers. The archive also hosts a Web-based database of references related to the datasets, called the Child Abuse and Neglect Digital Library. With this tool, researchers can easily find publications based on NDACAN-archived studies to inform their work.

"Our experienced staff have had a real impact in assuring that the research data that is collected is maximally used to understand and address this significant social problem," said John Eckenrode, director of NDACAN, professor of human development and director of the Family Life Development Center.

"We also conduct data analyses for professional groups and organizations, which may be used for informing public policy," he added. "For example, NDACAN provided analyses of national foster care data for a series of reports for the Pew Charitable Trusts' Kids Are Waiting campaign. This information supported the passage of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, signed by President George Bush."

Over the past five years. NDACAN has distributed more than 2,000 datasets to the research community and annually responds to more than 1,000 requests for technical assistance. This has resulted in the publication of 30 to 50 research and scholarly articles and reports each year by data users.

"Looking ahead, NDACAN will expand the datasets available, develop innovative products and services, expand its intramural research capacity and provide the field with unique opportunities for networking, training and scholarly work," Eckenrode said.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

For more information

National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect
Child Welfare Information Gateway
The Administration for Children and Families