Primary Care Interventions to Prevent Child Maltreatment: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement

Virginia A. Moyer, MD, MPH, on behalf of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force*
Description: Update of the child abuse and neglect portion of the 2004 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation statement on screening for family and intimate partner violence.
Methods: The USPSTF commissioned a systematic review on interventions to prevent child maltreatment for children at risk, focusing on new studies and evidence gaps that were unresolved at the time of the 2004 recommendation. Beneficial outcomes considered include reduced exposure to maltreatment and reduced harms to physical or mental health or mortality.
Population: This recommendation applies to children in the general U.S. population from newborn to age 18 years who do not have signs or symptoms of maltreatment.
Recommendation: The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of primary care interventions to prevent child maltreatment. (I statement)
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) makes recommendations about the effectiveness of specific preventive care services for patients without related signs or symptoms.
It bases its recommendations on the evidence of both the benefits and harms of the service and an assessment of the balance. The USPSTF does not consider the costs of providing a service in this assessment.
The USPSTF recognizes that clinical decisions involve more considerations than evidence alone. Clinicians should understand the evidence but individualize decision making to the specific patient or situation. Similarly, the USPSTF notes that policy and coverage decisions involve considerations in addition to the evidence of clinical benefits and harms.