Child Abuse and Neglect Statistics, June 2017
How does the United States fare in its treatment of children?
Although the U.S. is ranked first in gross domestic product globally,[i] it is:
26th of 29 among developed nations based on measures of child welfare.[ii]
25th of 27 among developed nations based on the rate of child deaths from abuse and neglect.[iii]
How many children are abused and neglected in the U.S?
In 2015, 683,000 children were victims of abuse and neglect from about 4 million reports of child abuse and neglect.[iv]
In 2015, 3,358,000 children received an investigation or alternative response by CPS.[v]
27.7% of these children were younger than 3 years old.[vi]
What type of maltreatment did these children suffer?
75.3% of children were neglected[vii]
17.2% of children were physically abused[viii]
8.4 % of children were sexually abused[ix]
* Children that suffer from multiple forms of abuse were counted for each.
How many children in the U.S. died from abuse and neglect? Do States release this information?
1,670 children died from maltreatment in the U.S. during 2015 – an increase of 5.7% from 2011.[x]
74.8% of all child fatalities were younger than 3 years old. [xi]
37% of states restrict information on child deaths and near deaths frustrating community efforts to understand causation and implement change.[xii]
How much does child abuse and neglect cost the U.S.?
Total costs of child maltreatment:[xiii] $78,405,704,013
Total yearly cost of each abused and neglected child in the United States is: [xiv] $63,871
What kind of legal assistance is provided for these children?
39% of states do not require legal representation for children in civil child abuse and neglect proceedings that determine all facets of these children’s lives.[xv]
What happens to former foster children?
Approximately 427,910 children were in the foster care system as of September 30, 2015.[xvi]
22,303 of those children aged out of foster care.[xvii]
Percentage of the general population who graduate high school.[xviii] 87%
Percentage of foster youth who complete high school by age 18.[xix] 50%
Percentage of recent high school graduates in the general population who attend college.[xx] 69.7%
Percentage of foster youth who completed high school who attend college.[xxi] 20%
Percentage of the general population age 25 and older who have a bachelor’s degree:[xxii] * 31%
Percentage of former foster children age 25 and older who have a bachelor’s degree: [xxiii] * 3%
Percentage of the general population in jail or prison:[xxiv] <1%
Percentage of former foster children* incarcerated since age 17:[xxv] Males: 64%, Females: 32.5%
Percentage of the general population who experience homelessness over the course of a year:[xxvi] <1%
Percentage of former foster children* who experience homelessness after aging out of the system. 24%
Percentage of former foster children* who are unemployed one year after aging out:[xxvii] 61%
Percentage of former foster children* who are unemployed five years after aging out:[xxviii] 53.5%
* These percentages reflect research on foster children solely in the Midwest but are likely also indicative of the overall trends throughout the U.S. (Courtney,Dworsky)
[i] World Bank, World Development Indicators Database, Total GDP 2011, at 1, http://databank.worldbank.org/data/views/reports/tableview.aspx (2012).
[ii] Calculated from rankings in overall well-being. See UNICEF, “Child well-being in rich countries: A league table of inequality in child well-being,” Innocenti Report Card 11, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Florence, available at http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/rc11_eng.pdf (2011).
[iii] UNICEF, “A league table of child maltreatment deaths in rich nations,” Innocenti Report Card 5, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Florence, available at (2003).
[iv] Child Maltreatment 2016 at 18, available at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/cm2015.pdf at 18 (2015)
[v] Id. at 17 - Exhibit 3
[vi] Id. at 20
[vii] Id. at 21
[x] Id. at 52.
[xii] First Star and the Children’s Advocacy Institute, State Secrecy and Child Deaths in the U.S., 2nd ed. (2012)
[xv] First Star and the Children’s Advocacy Institute, A Child’s Right to Counsel: A National Report Card on Legal Representation for Abused & Neglected Children, 3d ed. at 10 (2012).
[xviii] U.S Census, Current Population Reports, Ryan, C., Bauman, K., Educational Attainment in the United States: 2015 (2016).
[xix] National Working Group on Foster Care and Education (NWG). Available at http://www.fostercareandeducation.org/OurWork/NationalWorkGroup.aspx
[xx] Bureau of Labor Statistics, College Enrollment and Work Activity of 2016 High School Graduates.
[xxi] NWG, see note xix.
[xxii] National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics: 2012 (table 8), available at http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d12/tables/dt12_008.asp?referrer=report (2012).
[xxiii] Foster Care by the Numbers, Casey Family Programs, Sept. 2011, available at http://www.casey.org/media/MediaKit_FosterCareByTheNumbers.pdf
[xxiv] Calculated by dividing estimated number of inmates, 231, by the confined population of 100,000. See Todd D. Minton, Jail Inmates at Midyear 2013 - Statistical Tables, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, May 2014, available at http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/jim13st.pdf.
[xxv] Courtney, M., Dworsky, A., Brown, A., Cary, C., Love, K., Vorhies, V. (2011). Midwest evaluation of the adult functioning of former foster youth: Outcomes at age 26. Chicago, IL: Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.
[xxvi] Calculated by dividing the estimated homeless population of the U.S. over the course of a year (1.3 – 2.3 million) by the estimated total population in the U.S. (312,152,633). See Nan P. Roman & Phyllis Wolfe, National Alliance to End Homelessness, Web of Failure: The Relationship Between Foster Care and Homelessness 4 (1995); The Urban Institute, Millions Still Face Homelessness in a Booming Economy, http://www.urban.org/publications/900050.html (2000) (last revised in 2010); U.S. PopClock Projection, http://www.census.gov/popclock/ (last visited Aug. 5, 2014).
[xxvii] Calculated by finding average of unemployed former foster youth males (60%) and females (62%) at age 19. See Hook, J. L. & Courtney, M. E. (2010). Employment of Former Foster Youth as Young Adults: Evidence from the Midwest Study. Chicago: Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.
[xxviii] Calculated by finding average of unemployed former foster youth males (54%) and females (53%) at age 24. See Hook, J. L. & Courtney, M. E., Employment of Former Foster Youth as Young Adults: Evidence from the Midwest Study. Chicago: Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago (2010).