Child Abuse and Neglect (Child Maltreatment)
Children who experience maltreatment (physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect) are associated with increased risk of adverse outcomes including mental health problems, poor school performance, juvenile delinquency, substance abuse and adverse health.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, "Each state has its own definition of child maltreatment based on minimum standards set by Federal law. . . . . . The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), (42 U.S.C.A. §5106g), as amended by theKeeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003, defines child abuse and neglect as, at a minimum:
- Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation; or
- An act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm."
This section of the AboutPinellasKids website includes child maltreatment statistics covering the nation, Florida, Pinellas County and comparisons between Pinellas County and other similarly sized Florida counties.
2006 National Child Maltreatment Statistics Summary
Each year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, issues a national Child Maltreatment Annual Report based on data received from the states. The latest report is for fiscal year 2006 (Oct. 05 – Sep. 06) and is available at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/pubs/cm06/index.htm
During Federal fiscal year 2006, an estimated 3.3 million referrals, involving the alleged maltreatment of approximately 6.0 million children, were made to Child Protective Services agencies. An estimated 3.6 million children received an investigation or assessment.
- 61.7% of referrals were screened for investigation or assessment.
- Just under 30% of the investigations or assessments determined that at least one child was found to be a victim of abuse or neglect.
- More than 70% of the investigations or assessments determined that the child was not a victim of maltreatment.
- 56.3% of alleged child abuse or neglect reports were accounted for by professionals including teachers, police officers, lawyers, and social services staff. The remaining reports were made by nonprofessionals, including friends, neighbors, sports coaches, and relatives.
- An estimated 905,000 children were determined to be victims of abuse or neglect.
- Children 1 year of age and younger had the highest rate of victimization at 24.4 per 1,000 children of the same age group in the national population.
- 51.5% of the child victims were girls and 48.2% were boys.
- 48.8% of all victims were White and 22.8% were African-American.
- 18.4% were Hispanic.
- Neglect was the most common form of child maltreatment.
- 64.1% of victims suffered neglect.
- 16.0% of the victims suffered physical abuse.
- 8.8% of the victims suffered sexual abuse.
- 6.6% of the victims suffered from emotional maltreatment.
- Child fatalities are the most tragic consequence of maltreatment.
- An estimated 1,530 children died due to child abuse or neglect.
- The overall rate of child fatalities was 2.04 deaths per 100,000 children.
- 41.1% of child fatalities were attributed to neglect; physical abuse also was a major contributor to child fatalities.
- 78.0% of the children who died due to child abuse and neglect were younger than 4 years old.
- Infant boys (younger than 1 year) had the highest rate of fatalities, at 18.5 deaths per 100,000 boys of the same age in the national population.
- Infant girls had a rate of 14.7 deaths per 100,000.
- 79.4% of perpetrators were parents and another 6.7% were other relatives of the victim. Women comprised a larger percentage of perpetrators than men, 57.9% vs. 42.1%. 77.5% of all perpetrators were younger than age 40.
- Of the perpetrators who maltreated children, 7.0% committed sexual abuse, while 60.4% committed neglect.
- Of the perpetrators who were parents, 91.5% were the biological parent of the victim.
Florida’s Child Welfare System
According to the Florida Department of Children and Families (FLDCF), . . . "Many victims don't receive help because they are not reported to the system". . . Thus, the reported data are likely to understate the true extent of child maltreatment.
- Detailed fiscal year child abuse and neglect statistics for Florida Counties can be found on the FLDCF website at http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/abuse/pubs.shtml
- In 2006-07, the FLDCF began a transition to a new statewide automated child welfare information system, Florida Safe Families Network (FSFN), to replace HomeSafeNet.
Pinellas County Children as Victims of Maltreatment
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Child Protection Investigations Division (CPID) investigates reports of child abuse, neglect, or abandonment called into Florida’s Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-96-ABUSE) or directly to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office (727-582-6200).
- hild maltreatment data are presented for FY 2003-04 and beyond. Data for prior periods were based on a different method of collection and are, therefore, not comparable. Victims described as "verified" and "some indication" are defined by the FLDCF as follows:
- Verified: "The investigation determined that a preponderance of the credible evidence results in a determination that the specific injury harm or threatened harm was the result of abuse or neglect."
- Some Indication: "The investigation determined that there is credible evidence, which does not meet the standard of being a preponderance, to support that the specific injury, harm or threatened harm was the result of abuse or neglect that occurred."
- For fiscal year 2006-07, the latest year for which child maltreatment statistics are available, the FLDCF reports that of 12,451 Pinellas County children identified as victims, 7,129 children, 57% of the total, were either "verified" victims of maltreatment or revealed "some indication" of maltreatment, an increase of 0.7% above the previous FY, the smallest increase in three years.
- Approximately 41% of the victims had no indication, no jurisdiction or were missing - 272 children were classified as "special conditions" only - special conditions do not constitute allegations of abuse, neglect or threatened harm but require response by protective investigations to ensure provision of services.
A comparison of Pinellas to comparably sized counties is shown below.
Pinellas has a substantially higher rate of maltreatment victims per 1000 youth population than other Florida counties of comparable size and the state.
Alleged Maltreatment Victims
Alleged maltreatment is an unconfirmed statement made by an individual reporting to the Florida Abuse Hotline of suspected abuse, neglect, abandonment or threatened harm to a child.
- The number of alleged victims of maltreatment in Pinellas County by age group shows that all age groups are affected, with the largest increases in alleged maltreatment since FY 2003-04 occurring in the 0-2 and 14-17 age groups - the 0-2 age group now has the largest number of alleged victims, accounting for 23.0% of the total.
- It is important to note that, when comparing the number of alleged victims by age group in the chart below, the age group intervals are not of equal length.
For the three-year period of FY 2004-05 to 2006-07, slightly more than two-thirds of Pinellas County’s alleged maltreatment victims were white and 29% were black. 6.8% of alleged victims were Hispanic.
In FY 2006-07, the number of alleged victims per 1000 population for black victims was twice that of whites and more than triple the rate of all other races.
For the most part, alleged victims of maltreatment are not removed from their home (not placed). During FY 2004-05 to 2006-07:
- Approximately 94% of alleged victims remained in their home.
- Almost 3% of alleged victims went to live with a relative or non-custodial parent.
- Slightly less than 3% of alleged victims were placed in an emergency shelter.
The percentage of Pinellas County victims experiencing a recurrence of maltreatment within 2, 4 and 6 months of the initial verified/indicated report of maltreatment declined slightly in 2006-07.
During the FY 2004-05 to 2006-07 period, approximately 71% of Pinellas County’s caregivers responsible for abuse/neglect were parents.
- An additional 8% was attributed to step-parents and grandparents.
- Paramours accounted for just over 9% of abuse/neglect.
- The "other" category, at slightly under 9%, includes aunts, uncles, other relatives, foster parents, sitters, facility staff and others not specifically identified.
- Children’s Home – Kinship Services Network of Pinellas
- Department of Health – Healthy Families Pinellas
- Family Service Center – Childnet
- Family Service Center – Sexual Assault Services
- Help-A-Child – Allyn B. Giffin Medical Foster Care Home
- Help-A-Child – Safe Start Partnership Center
- Operation PAR – COSA at the Child Development and Family Guidance Center
- PEMHS – Emergency Response Team
Read More About It:
Child Maltreatment 2007: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/pubs/cm07/index.htm
Child Welfare in Florida: http://www.childrensdefense.org/site/DocServer/Child_Welfare_In_Florida06.pdf?docID=3469
Developing the Five Year Plan for the Prevention of Child Abuse, Neglect, and Abandonment 2005-2009: http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/childabuseprevention/downloads/Plan/Suncoast.pdf
Child Abuse Death Review Annual Report 2006: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/cms/FLCADR/attach/2006CADRrpt.pdf
Kid deaths from abuse, neglect soar in Florida
(St. Petersburg Times © 12/29/2007)
The Child Welfare League of America 2008 Report on Florida’s Children: http://www.cwla.org/advocacy/statefactsheets/2008/florida.htm