Details of 2009 Child Maltreatment Data Released

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New information released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides more details about the number of allegations of maltreatment of children in 2009 and how the complaints were handled.

In 2009, there were an estimated 3.3 million referrals involving alleged mistreatment of about 6 million children made to Child Protective Services (CPS) agencies in the United States. The number of referrals stayed about the same in 2009 as it was in 2008.

In addition, an estimated 3.6 million children were the subject of one or more assessments or investigations. About 62 percent of all referrals were screened in for investigation or assessment by CPS agencies. Slightly more than 76 percent of investigations or assessments found that the child was not a victim of maltreatment.

Of all maltreatment reports filed in 2009, about 58 percent came from professionals (including investigators), 16.5 percent came from education personnel, about 16 percent from law enforcement and legal workers, and slightly more than 11 percent came from social workers.

There were 763,000 duplicate abuse or neglect victims in 2009 and the number of estimated unique victims in this situation was 702,000.

Just as in 2007 and 2008, the highest prevalence of abuse or neglect was found in the youngest age group—those from birth to 1 year—at a rate of 20.6 per 1,000 children. This is down from a rate of 21.7 in 2008.

Similar to prior years, neglect was found to be the most common form of child maltreatment: 78.3 percent of victims suffered from neglect, a figure that is up from 71.1 percent in 2008.  In 2009, 17.8 percent of victims suffered physical abuse, up from 16.1 percent in 2008.

An estimated 1,770 children died from child abuse in 2009—or about 2.34 fatalities per 1,000 children. This figure is very similar to 2008, when 1,740 children died do to abuse or neglect.

To read the complete report, click here