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Proposed Information Collection Activity; Comment Request

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Proposed Projects

Title: Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect.

OMB No.: 0970-0276.

Description: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) intends to issue letters to recruit agencies for participation in the next National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS). This will be the fourth cycle of this periodic study. NIS-1, mandated under Public Law (Pub. L.) 93-247 (1974), was conducted in 1979 and 1980 and reported in 1981. The NIS-2, mandated under (Pub. L. 98-457 (1984), was conducted in 1986 and 1987, and reported in 1988. NIS-3, mandated under both the Child Abuse Prevention, Adoption, and Family Services Act of 1988 (Pub. L.) 100-294) Start Printed Page 63401and the Child Abuse, Domestic Violence, Adoption and Family Services Act of 1992 (Pub. L.) 102-295, conducted between 1993 and 1995, and reported in 1996. NIS-4, mandated by the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003 (Pub. L.) 108-36), will be reported in 2006.

NIS is unique in that it goes beyond the abused and neglected children who come to the attention of the Child Protective Services (CPS) system. In contrast to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data Systems (NCANDS), which rely solely on reported cases. The NIS design assumes that reported children represent only a portion of the children who actually are maltreated. Following the implications of its assumptions, NIS estimates the scope of the maltreated child population by combining information about reported cases with data on maltreated children identified by professionals (called “sentinels”) who encounter them during the normal course of their work in a wide range of agencies in representative communities. Sentinels are asked to remain on the lookout for children whom they believe are maltreated during the study reference period and to provide information about these children. Children identified by sentinels and those children whose alleged maltreatment is investigated by CPS during the same period are evaluated against standardized definitions, and only children who meet the study standards are used to develop the study estimates. The study estimates are couched in terms of numbers of maltreated children, with data unduplicated so that a given child is counted only once. Confidentiality of all participants is carefully protected.

A nationally representative sample of 120 counties will be selected and all local CPS agencies serving the selected counties will be identified. Plans will be developed to obtain data on cases investigated during the study reference period, September 4, 2005 to December 3, 2005. Sentinels in the selected counties will be identified through samples of agencies in 11 categories: county juvenile probation departments, sheriff (and/or state police) departments, public health departments, public housing departments, municipal police departments, hospitals, schools, day care centers, social service agencies, mental health agencies, and shelters for battered women or runaway/homeless youth. A total of approximately 1,600 sentinel agencies will be sampled. Plans will be developed to identify staff in these agencies who have direct contact with children to serve as sentinels during the study by submitting data on maltreated children they encounter during the study reference period. In preparation for the study, letters will be sent to the directors of the selected agencies asking them to permit their agencies to participant in NIS-4, and describing the general nature of the data collection effort. HHS will issue a subsequent notice of proposed data collection for this study after data collection plans are developed.

Respondents:

Annual Burden Estimates

InstrumentNumber of respondentsNumber of responses per respondentAverage burden hours per responseTotal burden hours
Letter to CPS Agencies1201.2024
Letter to Sentinel Agencies1,6001.20320
12,0001.202,400
Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours.202,744

In compliance with the requirements of Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Administration for Children and Families is soliciting public comment on the specific aspects of the information collection described above. Copies of the proposed collection of information can be obtained and comments may be forwarded by writing to the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Administration, Office of Information Services, 370 L'Enfant Promenade, SW., Washington, DC 20447, Attn: ACF Reports Clearance Officer, E-mail address: grjohnson@acf.hhs.gov. All requests should be identified by the title of the information collection.

The Department specifically requests comments on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (c) the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Consideration will be given to comments and suggestions submitted within 60 days of this publication.

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Dated: October 26, 2004.

Robert Sargis,

Reports Clearance Officer.

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[FR Doc. 04-24348 Filed 10-29-04; 8:45 am]

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