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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.[1]         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 http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/repcard5e.pdf (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

[viii]  see

http://preventchildabuse.org/resource/the-estimated-annual-cost-of-child-abuse-and-neglect/

[ix] Id.

[x] Id. at 52.

[xi] Id.

[xii] First Star and the Children’s Advocacy Institute, State Secrecy and Child Deaths in the U.S., 2nd ed. (2012)

[xiii] https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=261759 (2012).

[xiv] Id.

[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).

[xvi] https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/afcarsreport23.pdf (2015).

[xvii] Id.

[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.  https://www.bls.gov/news.release/hsgec.nr0.htm.

[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).
 

Statistics