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America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2016

Child Maltreatment

Child maltreatment includes physical, sexual, and psychological abuse, as well as neglect (including medical neglect). Maltreatment in general is associated with a number of negative outcomes for children, including lower school achievement, juvenile delinquency, substance abuse, and mental health problems.10 Certain types of maltreatment can result in long-term physical, social, and emotional problems, and even death. Child maltreatment rates vary by the race and ethnicity of the child.11 Understanding these variations could potentially improve prevention and intervention efforts.

Figure 4: Rate of substantiated maltreatment reports of children ages 0–17 by race and Hispanic origin, 2000–2014
Rate of substantiated maltreatment reports of children ages 0–17 by race and Hispanic origin, 2000–2014

NOTE: The data in this figure are victimization rates based on the number of investigations and assessments by Child Protective Services that found the child to be a victim of one or more types of maltreatment. This is a duplicated count because an individual child may have been determined to have been maltreated on more than one occasion. Substantiated maltreatment includes the dispositions of substantiated, indicated, or alternative response victims. The number of states reporting may vary from year to year. States vary in their definitions of abuse and neglect. Data since 2007 are not directly comparable with prior years as differences may be partially attributed to changes in one state's procedures for substantiating maltreatment.

SOURCE: Administration for Children and Families, National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System.

  • After several years of steady decreases, the national rate of substantiated child maltreatment reports increased in 2014 for the first time since 2007. Despite this recent increase, the 2014 rate of 10.2 per 1,000 children was lower than the 2007 rate of 10.6 per 1,000 children.
  • The 2014 increase in national substantiated child maltreatment reports was apparent for victims of all races and ethnicities, except Asian children and children of two or more races. The victimization rates in those categories remained the same as in the previous year.
  • From 2001 to 2014, Black, non-Hispanic and American Indian or Alaska Native children had the highest rates of substantiated child maltreatment reports (except in 2004 and 2010 when it was Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander children and children of two or more races, respectively).
  • In 2014, the victimization rates (per 1,000) were 16.4 for Black, non-Hispanic; 14.9 for American Indian or Alaska Native; 11.6 for two or more races; 9.5 for Hispanic; 9.2 for White, non-Hispanic; 9.1 for Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; and 1.8 for Asian children.

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10 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration for Children, Youth, and Families, Children's Bureau, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect. (2003). A coordinated response to child abuse and neglect: The foundation for practice. Retrieved from https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/foundation.pdf

11 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Administration for Children and Families, Administration of Children, Youth and Families, Children's Bureau. (2014). National child abuse and neglect data system (FFY2014 OLAP cube) [Data file]. Retrieved July 29, 2015.