One in Four Caregivers of Special Needs Children Report Physical Discipline in Household

Physical Discipline of Children in California, by Special Health Care Needs Status

Child abuse can cause lifelong physical, emotional, and behavioral problems and may perpetuate intergenerational cycles of family violence. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the strain that families experience can be immense and may affect how children are disciplined and risk their safety. Having a child with a special health care need (CSHCN) in the household may further increase that risk.

The questionnaire, Family Experiences During the COVID-19 Pandemic, sheds light on the extent of child safety and abuse in households in November 2020. In California, 17% of caregivers reported that they spanked, slapped, or hit a child in their household in the previous week. In households including CSHCN, one in four caregivers reported these forms of punishment compared with one in seven caregivers in other households.

Similar patterns emerge in the prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV) in the household. Since the start of the pandemic, 12% of caregivers reported that they experienced physical IPV. One in five caregivers who had a CSHCN in the household reported physical IPV compared with about one in twelve caregivers in other households.

Prevent Child Abuse America notes that multiple and interacting factors contribute to abuse, including substance abuse in the household, caregivers’ poor emotional health, and economic stress. By focusing on prevention, all children can grow and thrive in safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments. The organization shares that National Child Abuse Prevention Month is “a time to plant the seeds of a better tomorrow for all children and families.”

Latest Data on Child Well-Being During Pandemic

In addition to data about child and caregiver safety, we have additional data on the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on critical areas of children’s health and well-being.

*Data coming soon.


Register for the “Family Experiences During COVID-19 Pandemic Data Webinar”

Thursday, April 29, 2021, from 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. (PST)

Learn more about the questionnaire, Family Experiences During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Drs. Robert Sege from the Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences (HOPE) Project at Tufts Medical Center and Lori Turk-Bicakci from the KidsData program at PRB will provide an overview of the questionnaire, summarize California and national findings, share where to access California data and national snapshots, and offer highlights from the HOPE perspective. The webinar is hosted by the Essentials for Childhood Initiative. Register here.

April Is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Best Practice Guidelines for California’s Child Abuse Prevention Councils (CAPCs) offers a comprehensive approach to addressing child abuse and promoting prevention, shared by the California Office of Child Abuse Prevention and Strategies 2.0. CAPCs’ role is to be the catalyst, convener, and coordinator of prevention efforts at the county level.

Reframing Childhood Adversity: Promoting Upstream Approaches helps professionals communicate about child well-being and adversity, shared by the FrameWorks Institute, Prevent Child Abuse America, and the newly merged Alliance for Strong Families and Communities and Council on Accreditation.

Recently Released Data

We recently released data about emotional health and the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, there were more than 27,000 hospital discharges for mental health issues among California youth ages 15 to 19. See links to the latest here.

Posted by

This entry was posted on Thursday, April 8th, 2021 at 1:23 pm. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Post a comment/question: