April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month: Understanding the Impact

woman with a happy foster child

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This year's theme is "Doing Things Differently: Moving from the Challenge to the Change." 

 

Each year, millions of instances of child maltreatment are reported, often propelling families into dependency court and the child welfare system. This trajectory sometimes leads to children entering foster care. The instability inherent in the temporary nature of foster care can have lasting effects.

 

National Child Abuse Statistics

  • Over 408,000 children in the U.S. experience abuse or neglect annually, leading them into the foster care and dependency court systems.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, over 3 million cases of child maltreatment are reported each year, with 558,899 substantiated in 2022.
  • Foster children often endure multiple home changes and school transfers, which can have long-term effects.

 

Alarming Figures

  • At least one in seven children experience abuse or neglect each year. In 2020, 1,750 children died of abuse and neglect in the United States.
  • Child maltreatment is costly. In the United States, the total lifetime economic burden associated with child abuse and neglect was about $592 billion in 2018. This economic burden rivals the cost of other high-profile public health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes.


Vulnerable Demographics

  • Infants face the highest rate of victimization, with children of all races and socioeconomic backgrounds at risk.
  • Children living in poverty are reported to experience more abuse and neglect. Experiencing poverty can place a lot of stress on families, which may increase the risk of child abuse and neglect. Rates of child abuse and neglect are 5 times higher for children in families with low socioeconomic status. It is important not to mistake poverty for neglect


 

The Role of CASA

 

Empowering Advocacy

  • Nebraska CASA Association provides trained volunteers to advocate for children in court, making informed decisions for their well-being.


Strengthening Families

  • CASA volunteers offer consistent support, helping judges make informed decisions and connecting families with vital resources.


Addressing Root Causes of Child Abuse

 

Tackling Poverty

  • Poverty, combined with other risk factors like substance use and social isolation, increases the likelihood of maltreatment.
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Providing Essential Support

  • Access to economic support services is crucial for families, reducing child welfare interactions and promoting stability.


Making a Difference


Positive Outcomes

  • In 2020, 42% of CASA cases were closed due to reunification, with less than half re-entering foster care after exiting with a positive permanency outcome.
  • Join the Cause
  • Nebraska CASA Association advocates for every child to have a safe and nurturing permanent home.
  • Volunteer or donate today to support abused and neglected children.