Child Abuse and Neglect
Federal law defines child abuse and neglect as "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 [of a child]".1
When children are removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect, they enter the foster care system. Accordingly, all children in foster care are victims of abuse, neglect, or abandonment, and it is our mission to give them a voice. This Child Abuse Prevention Month, we encourage you to join us by educating yourself, spreading the word, and learning about ways we can all prevent child abuse.
Facts and Statistics
- Last year, an estimated 678,000 children were found to be victims of child abuse or neglect nationwide.3
- In Federal fiscal year 2018, about 4.3 million reports were made to Child Protective Services (CPS) concerning the safety and well-being of approximately 7.8 million children.3
- Younger children are maltreated at higher rates than older youth. Children ages 0-3 receive three times the rate of maltreatment than youth ages 16-17.2
- Taking into account poverty and institutional biases, children who are non-Hispanic black, American Indian or Alaska Native, or multiple race experience higher rates of reported child maltreatment than other children.2
- Rates of reported neglect are higher than those for other types of child maltreatment.2
- Rates of physical and sexual abuse have declined over the last two decades.2
Domestic Violence and Abuse
“Alex”* was only a young child when he and his older siblings were removed from his parents’ home due to evidence of domestic violence. Over the next few months, Alex bounced from placement to placement. He originally was placed with his maternal aunt, but was removed from that home as well due to unexplained bruises found on him.
When Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Jennifer was assigned to his case, she quickly developed a close bond with him. There was a discussion in the court at the time to place Alex back at the maternal aunt’s home where his siblings remained, despite Alex’s great relationship with his current foster mother. CASA Jennifer felt this wasn’t a viable option, as she believed that the aunt may have been neglecting the child when he was under her care.
Determined to advocate for Alex, CASA Jennifer proceeded to communicate with the professionals on his case, wrote compelling court reports, and attended all necessary hearings. After putting in extensive effort, it was determined that Alex would stay with his current foster mother.
CASA Jennifer stayed on Alex’s case for the next year, celebrating milestones such as his first day of preschool, birthdays, and excitingly, his eventual adoption by his foster mother. Thanks to her advocacy and support, Jennifer was able to ensure the best outcome for her case child.
*Names and other identifying features have been changed to protect the identities of our foster youth.
Become a CASA Volunteer
You can offer consistency to foster youth and promote healthier families by becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer today!
Spread the Word
Use #childabusepreventionmonth and #NCAPM2020 to support the cause on social media! Share the graphics below, and visit the official NCAPM 2020 "Spread the Word" page for more shareable content.
Child Abuse Hotline - State of California: 1(800) 344-6000
U.S Dept of Health and Human Services Administration for Child Welfare
National Child Abuse Prevention Month 2020 Resource Guide
Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect
Responding to Child Abuse and Neglect
Learn about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)