HHS has released the annual child abuse report: Child Maltreatment 2017. The numbers are similar to past years. For FY 2017, there are an estimated 674,000 victims of child abuse and neglect. The victim rate is 9.1 victims per 1,000 children in the population. The numbers are like the previous year—2016 when 676,000 victims. Much of the report are estimates since not all fifty states turn in data for all categories. In that case the annual report projects the fifty state totals.

CPS agencies received a national estimate of 4.1 million referrals involving approximately 7.5 million children. Fifty-seven percent of referrals are screened in and 42.4 percent are screened out. For FFY 2017, states screened in 2.4 million referrals for a CPS response. As far as who reports cases of abuse and neglect, professionals submitted 65.7 percent of reports. Professionals include teachers, police officers, lawyers, and social services staff. As in past years, education personnel (19.4%) accounted for the single biggest percentage of reporters followed by legal and law enforcement personnel (18.3%), and social services personnel (11.7%). These are all mandatory reporters under various state laws. Nonprofessionals—including friends, neighbors, and relatives—submitted fewer than one-fifth of reports (17.3%).

• Children in their first year of life have the highest rate of victimization at 25.3 per 1,000 children of the same age in the national population.
• American Indian or Alaska Native children have the highest rate of victimization at 14.3 per 1,000 children in the population of the same race or ethnicity; and African American children have the second highest rate at 13.9 per 1,000 children of the same race or ethnicity.
• For victims younger than 1 year old with the alcohol abuse child risk factor, medical personnel account for 41.1 percent of the reports; and
• For victims younger than 1 year old with the drug abuse child risk factor, medical personnel account for 52.7 percent of reports.

As in prior years, the greatest percentages of children suffered from neglect (74.9%) with physical abuse (18.3%) and sexually abused at 8.6. These victims could suffer a single maltreatment type or a combination of two or more maltreatment types. A victim who suffers more than one type of maltreatment is counted only once per type.

For 2017, an estimated 1,720 children died of abuse and neglect at a rate of 2.32 per 100,000 children in the national population. Seventy-two (71.8%) percent of all child fatalities were younger than 3 years old.

• Boys had a higher child fatality rate than girls at 2.68 boys per 100,000 boys in the population.
• Girls had a child fatality rate of 2.02 per 100,000 girls in the population.
• The rate for African-American child fatalities was 4.86 per 100,000 African American children.
• The rate for white children was 1.84 per 100,000 children.
• The rate of Hispanic children was 1.59 per 100,000 children.

In regard to prevention services both for children that were substantiated as victims of maltreatment and children that were not victims but came to the attention of child protective services the numbers have been consistent from past years:

• Two-thirds (60.2%) of victims and one third (29.6%) of nonvictims received post-response services.
• Approximately 1.9 million children received prevention services.
• Approximately 1.3 million children received post-response services from a CPS agency

About the Author:

John Sciamanna is CWLA's Vice President of Public Policy.

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