Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health      

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The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health | June 26, 2013

Verified Cases of Child Abuse/Neglect Decline in California

In California and nationwide, rates of substantiated child abuse and neglect cases are falling. Child welfare experts differ on the reasons for the decline, but many suggest that public awareness and prevention programs, as well as changes in how cases are investigated, may play a role.

In 2012, there were 487,016 reported allegations of child abuse and neglect in California. Of those cases, 17% were substantiated (verified) by the state child welfare system. More than 60% of these verified cases were due to general neglect.

California’s rate of substantiated cases of child abuse or neglect declined from 12.0 cases per 1,000 children ages 0-17 in 1998 to 8.9 in 2012. See rates for your county>>

Neglect consistently has been the most common type of substantiated case statewide and in nearly all counties for which these data are available. Children ages 0-5 make up the largest percentage of substantiated cases of child abuse/neglect in California; they comprised 46% of all cases in 2012, up from 40% in 1998.

Children who are abused or neglected, including those who witness domestic violence, often exhibit emotional, cognitive, and behavioral problems, such as anxiety, depression, suicidal behavior, difficulty in school, use of alcohol and other drugs, and early sexual activity

Statewide, child abuse and neglect cases disproportionately involve children of color, particularly African American/Black and American Indian/Alaska Native children. Read more about this topic, including policy implications>>

See Child Abuse and Neglect Data in Your Community

Helpful Links

Abuse, Neglect, Adoption and Foster Care Research, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Child Welfare and Foster Care Systems, Chapin Hall Center at University of Chicago
Child Welfare League of America
California Child Welfare Indicators Project, California Department of Social Services & UC Berkeley, Center for Social Services Research
Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University
Child Maltreatment Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Child Welfare Information Gateway, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Tip

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