Child Abuse and Neglect

When children have suffered abuse or neglect and cannot safely remain with their families, child welfare officials are obligated to provide them safe and appropriate homes, adequate services to ensure their well-being and resources to recover from trauma. Unfortunately, too many children will be further maltreated at the hands of the people entrusted with their protection.

In 2016:

There were 4.1 million reports of child maltreatment in the United States involving more than 7.4 million children.

Approximately 676,000 children were victims of maltreatment.

Of these:

Young children are particularly vulnerable— 1,750 children died from abuse and neglect, and 70 percent of these children were younger than 3 years old. More than 44 percent of children who die from abuse and neglect every year are under a year old.

While it is often assumed that children who die from maltreatment are physically abused, in 2016, 75 percent had been neglected, either exclusively or in combination with another form of maltreatment.

Some children who died from abuse or neglect were already known to child protective services (CPS) agencies.

Of all the children who died from maltreatment in 28 reporting states, 10.4 percent involved families who had received family preservation services in the five years preceding the child’s death. In 37 states, 2.4 percent of children who died from abuse or neglect had been in foster care and were reunited with their families in the previous five years.

Over 78 percent of perpetrators of child maltreatment were parents acting alone, together, or with other individuals.

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