As Many as 8 Children Die of Abuse and Neglect Every Day: Report

According to a new report, about 1,500 to 3,000 children in America die from abuse and neglect each year, but a federal agency said the deaths can be prevented.

The Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities released its findings on March 17.

The investigation found that four to eight children die daily in the United States due to abuse or neglect from parents or caregivers. The report also revealed that the victims are overwhelmingly very young. Approximately half are less than a year old, and 75 percent are under the age of three.

“Our current network of services and supports does not adequately ensure safety for children because much of it is reactionary after a death has occurred,” said Chairman Dr. David Sanders.

The findings indicated three groups of children who present unique challenges when it comes to preventing child abuse and neglect fatalities: those currently known to children protective services system; American Indian/Alaska Native boys and girls for whom little or no data exists; and African-Americans who die at a rate that is two-and-a-half times more than that of white or Hispanic children.

According to the investigation, a call to a child protection hotline is the best predictor of a child’s risk of injury death before age five.

This report highlights the heartbreaking frequency of preventable child deaths.
— Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)

The commission highlighted solutions in the report suggesting that states should be required to review all child abuse and neglect fatalities from the previous five years, and then create prevention strategies. States should also identify children at high risk and investigate and visit their homes to see if their families need support services or if they should be removed.

“The report provides a modest map to prevent child abuse, but we need the political drive to steer these changes into law and avoid lurching from one tragedy to another,” said Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), who helped establish the commission.

Officials are urging Congress and the White House to prevent the incidents, stating that more state and federal leadership is needed in providing resources that will give children hope.

“This report highlights the heartbreaking frequency of preventable child deaths, tragedies that Congress simply cannot continue to sweep aside,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).

Some officials asked Congress to fund at least $1 billion to initiate the new plan.

“Our recommendations will support stronger [Child Protective Services] agencies working with multiple partners using better data to identify and protect children,” said Sanders.

“Now the focus shifts to the president and Congress who have the opportunity to provide the necessary tools and resources, including greater flexibility in funding, to support these recommendations and ensure that our nation’s children remain safe, protected and free from harm,” he added.