This executive summary describes the Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS–4). It discusses the NIS–4 background and objectives, reports on the design and methods, and presents the key findings and implications.
The National Incidence Study (NIS) is a congressionally mandated, periodic effort of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. In 1974, Public Law (P.L.) 93–247 mandated the first NIS (NIS–1), which collected data in 1979 and 1980. The NIS–2 was mandated under P.L. 98–457 (1984) and collected data in 1986. The NIS–3, mandated by the Child Abuse Prevention, Adoption, and Family Services Act of 1988 (P.L. 100–294) and the Child Abuse, Domestic Violence, Adoption and Family Services Act of 1992 (P.L. 102–295), collected data in 1993. The Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-36) mandated the NIS–4, which collected data in 2005 and 2006. The principal objectives of the NIS–4 were to provide updated estimates of the incidence of child abuse and neglect in the United States and measure changes in incidence from the earlier studies.