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Home > Advocacy > National Fact Sheet 2003 > National Fact Sheet 2002

 
 

National Fact Sheet 2002

Making Children a National Priority

America's Children At-a-Glance

 Number of Children
Referrals of possible child abuse and neglect, 1999 12,974,000*
Children substantiated/indicated as abused or neglected, 1999 2826,162*
Children who died as a result of abuse or neglect, 1999 31,137*
Children in foster care on March 31, 2000 4588,000*
Number of children waiting to be adopted on March 31, 2000 5134,000*
Number of children and youth in juvenile detention facilities, 1999 6108,931
Children and youth fatalities as a result of gun violence, 2000 7616
Number of children lacking medical insurance, 1998 85.2 million*
Number of children under age 6 below the poverty level, 1999 94.2 million*

* Number of children estimated

Children Need Protection and Care

Child Abuse and Neglect
  • An estimated 826,162 children were victims of abuse or neglect in 1999. More than half (56.5%) suffered neglect, 21.3% were physically abused, and 11.3% were sexually abused. Children also experienced emotional abuse, medical neglect, and other forms of maltreatment. 10

  • Children under 3 years of age had the highest rate of maltreatment in 1999 (13.9 per 1,000 children). 11
Foster Care and Adoption
  • Between October 1999 and March 2000, 60% of children exiting foster care returned to their birthfamilies after an average stay of 21 months. 12

  • The average age of children in foster care is 10 years. The average time the children had been in foster care is 33 months. 13

  • Thirty-five percent of the children in foster care are white non-Hispanic, 38% are black non-Hispanic, and 15% are Hispanic. Nearly half of the children waiting to be adopted are black non-Hispanic, 32% are white non-Hispanic, and 12% are Hispanic. 14

  • Children under age 6 represent 28% of the children in foster care. Youth age 16 and older represent 18% of children in care. 15

  • Returning home is not an option for approximately 127,000 children in the foster care system who are free for adoption. Almost 60% of these children are children of color. 16

  • Nearly 50,000 children were adopted from the public child welfare system in 2000, a 10% increase from the 46,000 adopted in 1999. 17

  • Children comprised 27% of the homeless population in 1999; unaccompanied youth represented 7%. 18 Among homeless adults in 1996, 29% reported one or more abuse or neglect experiences before age 18; 27% reported having lived in foster care, a group home, or another institutional setting for part of their childhood. 19
Child Care
  • Only 12% of the 15 million children eligible for federal child care subsidies in 1999 received care. The 1.8 million children in subsidized care that year was a slight increase from the 1.5 million children served in 1998. 20

  • Of the $7.5 billion in federal funds spent on subsidized child care in FY 2000, more than 50% came from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant. 21

  • Sixty-two percent of mothers with children under age 6, and 75% of mothers with children ages 6-17, are in the labor force. 22
Health Care
  • Nearly eight million low-income children were uninsured during 1999. More than three-quarters of all uninsured children are now estimated to be eligible for coverage under public programs-mostly through Medicaid, but also through the State Children's Health Insurance Program. 23

  • One in 10 children and adolescents suffer from mental illness severe enough to cause some level of impairment. 24

  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 75% to 80% of children who need mental health services do not receive it. 25 Studies show that more than 80% of children in foster care had developmental, emotional, or behavioral problems. Mental health services are repeatedly identified as their number one health care need. 26

  • Teen pregnancy rates have declined steadily, 19% between 1991 and 1997, from 116.5 pregnancies per 1,000 girls ages 15-19 to 94.3. Still, nearly 4 in 10 young women become pregnant at least once before age 21-one million per year. 27

  • Twenty-five percent of all new cases of HIV infection in the United States are estimated to occur in young people under age 21. 28 Every day, 27-54 young people under age 20 are infected with HIV. 29
Domestic Violence
  • Between 1.5 million and 3.3 million children witness some form of violence in the home each year. 30

  • Children from violent homes exhibit more aggressive and delinquent behavior compared with children from nonviolent homes. 31

  • Between 50% and 70% of men who abuse their female partners also abuse their children. 32

Many Families Have Serious Substance Abuse Problems

  • Seven out of 10 cases of child abuse and neglect are exacerbated by a parent's abuse of alcohol and other drugs. 33 In most cases, the parent's substance abuse is a long-standing problem of at least five years' duration. 34

  • Approximately 67% of parents with children in the child welfare system require substance abuse treatment, but child welfare agencies are able to provide treatment for only 31%. 35

  • Children whose parents abuse drugs and alcohol are almost three times more likely to be abused and four times more likely to be neglected than are children of parents who are not substance abusers. 36

  • Children whose families do not receive appropriate treatment for alcohol and other drug abuse are more likely to end up in foster care, remain in foster care longer, and reenter once they have returned home than are children whose families do receive treatment. 37

  • Women who stayed in comprehensive substance abuse treatment longer than three months were more likely to remain alcohol and drug free (68% vs. 48%) compared with those who left within the first three months of treatment. 38

  • Seventy-five percent of mothers receiving comprehensive substance abuse treatment had physical custody of one or more children six months after discharge from treatment, compared with 54% who had custody of any children shortly before entering treatment. 39

Violence and Incarceration Remain Serious Issues

  • In 1999, homicide was the leading cause of death for youth 15-24 years of age. That year, 1,708 children ages 15-19 died of firearm homicide. 40

  • Precursors to serious violent juvenile offenses among 6- to 11-year-olds include substance abuse in the family, low family socioeconomic status, and aggression. Serious violent offenders are disproportionately victims of violence themselves. 41

  • In 1999, 4,210 children under age 12 were placed in juvenile detention facilities. 42

  • Of the 108,931 children held in juvenile facilities in 1999, 37.8% were white, 39.4% were black, and 18.3% were Hispanic. 43

  • Nearly 59% of women in federal prisons, and 65% of women in state prisons, are mothers of children under age 18; 63% of men in federal prisons, and more than half of men in state prisons, are fathers of children under age 18. 44

Youth Need Opportunities for Positive Development

  • Most juvenile violence occurs during the afterschool hours of 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM. 45

  • Four million children ages 13-14 spend time unsupervised on a regular basis. 46

  • Students who spend one to four hours per week in afterschool extracurricular activities are 49% less likely to use drugs and 37% less likely to become teen parents than are students who do not participate in extra-curricular activities. 47

  • Research indicates that children who attend high-quality programs have better peer relations, emotional adjustment, conflict resolution skills, grades, and conduct in school than do their peers who are not in afterschool programs. 48

Child Poverty Remains High

Child Poverty
  • America's children are more likely to live in poverty than Americans in any other age group. 49

  • In 1999, more than 12 million children under age 18 years lived in poverty. 50

  • The child poverty rate for children under age 6 is 37% for African American children, 31% for Latino children, and 10% for white children. By international standards, the United States has the highest rate of child poverty for all children-33% African American, 30% Latino, and 9% white. 51

  • In 1999, 7% of America's children lived in extreme poverty, with family incomes below 50% of the federal poverty line. 52

  • More than one in four families with young children earns less than $25,000 a year; a family with both parents working full-time at the minimum wage earns only $21,400 a year. 53
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • In 2000, 2.2 million families received cash assistance through TANF, including 5.7 million children. 54

  • Although TANF caseloads decreased 52% between 1994 and 1999, the child poverty rate remained at more than 16% in 2000. 55

  • The poverty rate for families who stopped receiving assistance ranged from an estimated 41% to 58%. 56

  • Nine percent of the TANF caseload supports relatives caring for children. 57

  • Because funding has not been adjusted for inflation, the value of the federal TANF block grant has eroded more than 11% since its creation in 1996. 58
Also available:
  • This document in PDF format. (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)
  • The National Fact Sheet from 2007.
  • The National Fact Sheet from 2006.
  • The National Fact Sheet from 2005.
  • The National Fact Sheet from 2004.
  • The National Fact Sheet from 2003.
  • The National Fact Sheet from 2001.
  • The National Fact Sheet from 2000.
For more child welfare statistics, visit the National Data Analysis System at http://ndas.cwla.org.

Sources

  1. Children's Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2000). 10 years of reporting: Child maltreatment 1999. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Children's Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (April 2001). The AFCARS report. Available online at www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cb. Washington, DC: Administration for Children and Families.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Sickmund, M., & Wan, Y. (2001). Census of juveniles in residential placement databook. Available online at www.ojjdp.ncjrs.org/ojstatbb/cjrp. Washington, DC: US Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
  7. Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2000). Uniform crime reports. Available online at www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius_00/00crime2_3.pdf. Washington, DC: Author.
  8. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. (2001). Enrolling uninsured low-income children in Medicaid and CHIP. Available online at www.kff.org/content/2001/2177-02. Menlo Park, CA: Author.
  9. The National Center for Children in Poverty. (June 2001). Child poverty fact sheet. Available online at http://cpmcnet.columbia.edu/dept/nccp/ycpf.html. New York: Author.
  10. 10 years of reporting: Child maltreatment 1999.
  11. Ibid.
  12. The AFCARS report.
  13. In March 2000. Ibid.
  14. As of March 2000. Ibid.
  15. As of March 2000. Ibid.
  16. At the end of 1999. The National Adoption Information Clearinghouse. (2000). Adoption from foster care. Available online at http://naic.acf.hhs.gov/pubs/s_foster.htm. Washington, DC: Author.
  17. Administration for Children and Families. (September 2001). HHS awards adoption bonuses. Press release available online at www.acf.dhhs.gov/news/press/2001/adoption.html. Washington, DC: Author.
  18. U.S. Conference of Mayors. (1999). A status report on hunger and homelessness in America's cities. Washington, DC: Author.
  19. Burt, M., & Aron, L. (1999). Homelessness: Programs and the people they serve. Summary report: Findings of the national survey of homeless assistance providers and clients. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.
  20. Administration for Children and Families. (December 2000). New statistics show only small percentage of eligible families receive child care help. Press release available online at www.acf.dhhs.gov/news/press/2000/ccstudy.htm.
  21. Center for Law and Social Policy. (September 2001). The impact of TANF funding on state child care subsidy programs. Washington, DC: Author.
  22. U.S. Department of Labor. (2000). Families with own children: Employment status of parents by age of youngest child and family type, 1999-2000 annual averages. Available online at http://stats.bls.gov/cps. Washington, DC: Author.
  23. Smith, V., & Rousseau, D.M. (2000). CHIP program enrollment: December 2000. Washington, DC: Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured.
  24. U.S. Public Health Service. (2000). Office of the Surgeon General. Report of the Surgeon General's Conference on Children's Mental Health: A national action agenda. Available online at www.surgeongeneral.gov/CMH/childreport.htm. Washington, DC: Department of Health and Human Services.
  25. American Academy of Pediatrics. (2001). Improving substance abuse prevention, assessment, and treatment financing for children and adolescents. Elk Grove Village, IL: Author.
  26. Kaplan, B.J., & Sadock, V.A. Eds.). (2000). Comprehensive textbook on psychiatry, Vol. II. (7th ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  27. Ventura, S.J.; Mosher, W.D.; Curtin, S.C.; Aboma, J.C.; & Henshaw, S. (2000). Trends in pregnancy rates for the United States, 1976-97: An update. Vital Health Statistics 49 (4).
  28. The White House, Office of the President. (1997). The National AIDS Strategy. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.
  29. Office of National AIDS Policy. (1996). Youth and HIV/AIDS: An American agenda. A report to the President. Washington, DC: Author.
  30. Carter, J. (2001). Domestic violence, child abuse, and youth violence: Strategies for prevention and early intervention. San Francisco: Family Violence Prevention Fund.
  31. National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information. (2001). In harm's way: Domestic violence and child maltreatment. Available online at http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov/pubs/otherpubs/harmsway.cfm. Washington, DC: Administration for Children and Families.
  32. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. (1999). Reducing the effects of abuse and domestic violence on youth. Available online at www.ncadv.org/publicpolicy/children.htm. Washington, DC: Author.
  33. Reid, J.; Macchetto, P.; & Foster, S. (1999). No safe haven: Children of substance-abusing parents. Available online at www.casacolumbia.org/publications1456. New York: National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.
  34. Ibid.
  35. Child Welfare League of America. (1997). Survey of state and public child welfare agencies. Washington, DC: Author.
  36. No safe haven.
  37. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (1999). Blending perspectives and building common ground: A report to congress on substance abuse and child protection. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.
  38. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (2001). Benefits of residential substance abuse treatment for pregnant and parenting women: Highlights from a study of 50 Center for Substance Abuse Treatment demonstration programs. Washington, DC: HHS.
  39. Ibid.
  40. National Center for Health Statistics. (1999). Deaths for 358 selected causes by 5-year age groups, race, and sex: United States, 1999. Available online at www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/vs00199table292.pdf. Atlanta: Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
  41. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. (May 1998). Serious and violent juvenile offenders. Available online at www.ojjdp.ncjrs.org/jjbulletin/9805/contents.html Washington, DC: Author.
  42. Sickmund, M., & Wan, Y. (2001). Census of juveniles in residential placement databook. Available online at www.ojjdp.ncjrs.org/ojstatbb/cjrp. Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
  43. Ibid.
  44. National Center on Fathers and Families (2001). NCOFF roundtable series: Constructing and coping with incarceration and family. Available online at www.ncoff.gse.upenn.edu/conference/incarceration-rt.htm. Philadelphia: Author.
  45. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (1999). School and community interventions to prevent serious and violent offending. Available online at www.ncjrs.org/html/ojjdp/9911_1/vio1.html. Washington, DC: Author.
  46. National Institute on Out-of-School Time. (March 2001). Fact sheet on school-age children's out-of-school time. Available online at www.wellesley.edu/WCW/CRW/SAC/publications.html. Wellesley, MA: Center for Research on Women at Wellesley College.
  47. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (1996). Adolescent time use, risky behavior, and outcomes: An analysis of national data. Washington, DC: Author.
  48. Kahne, J.; Nagaoka, J.; Brown, A.; O'Brien, J.; Quinn, T.; and Thandiede, K. (1999). School and after-school programs as contexts for youth development. Oakland, CA: Mills College Department of Education.
  49. National Center for Children in Poverty (June 2001). Child poverty fact sheet. Available online at http://cpmcnet.columbia.edu/dept/nccp/ycpf.html. New York: Author.
  50. Ibid.
  51. Ibid.
  52. Ibid.
  53. U.S. Census Bureau (2000). Money income in the United States. (Current Population Reports, P60-209). Available online at www.census.gov/prod/www/abs/money.html. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
  54. Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2001). Total TANF families and recipients. Available online at www.acf.dhhs.gov/news/stats/aug-dec.htm. Washington, DC: Author.
  55. Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2001) U.S. welfare caseloads information. Available online at www.acf.dhhs.gov/news/tables.htm. Washington, DC: Author; Dalaker, J. (September 2001). Poverty in the United States: 2000. (Current Population Reports, P60-214). Available online at www.census.gov/prod/2001pubs/p60-214.pdf. Washington DC, U.S. Census Bureau.
  56. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning & Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (July 2001). Status report on research on the outcome of welfare reform, Appendix B: Findings for ASPE-funded leaver studies. Available online at aspe.os.dhhs.gov/hsp/welf-ref-outcomes01/appb.htm. Washington, DC: Author.
  57. Ibid.
  58. Parrott, S. (February 2002). The TANF-related provisions in the President's budget. Washington, DC: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.




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