National child abuse statistics are alarming and difficult to accept. ‘How can this happen in our country, in our state, and in my community?’ you ask. Children are our most valuable resource, yet in too many instances, children fall victim to abuse and neglect—and in the most disturbing circumstances—may die at the hands of their abuser.
Child maltreatment includes these four common denominators of abuse:
The following statistics are from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and they are particularly disturbing:
- There were 678,932 victims of child abuse and neglect reported to Child Protective Services (CPS) in 2013.
- The youngest children are the most vulnerable; 27% of reported victims are under the age of three.
- A non-CPS study estimated that 1 in 4 children experience some form of child maltreatment in their lifetime.
- About 1,520 children died from abuse and neglect in 2013.
- The total lifetime cost of child maltreatment is $124 billion each year.
Please take a moment to consider these figures that are often related to abuse/neglect:
- Every 2 hours a child is a homicide victim.
- 50% of runaway youth have been physically abused and an even greater number have been sexually abused.
- 60% of prostitutes have been sexually abused as children.
- 65% of prison inmates at the Ferguson Unit (Texas Department of Corrections) were abused as children.
- 90% of convicted murderers were physically abused as children.
It is important to remember that behind these statistics, there are living, breathing human beings. These at-risk individuals and criminals were once children whose lives were forever changed by childhood abuse and trauma.
Let’s turn our attention closer to home. In Fiscal Year 2010, Texas reported:
- A child population of 6,584,709
- 264,342 initial intakes alleging abuse/neglect
- 1863 CPS Caseworkers responsible for investigation
- 66,897 confirmed victims
- 280 child abuse/neglect related fatalities
- Children Removed 16,347
These victims may suffer bruises and welts (60-70%), sustain skeletal injury (15-20%), and 25-30% of cases involve brain or neuromotor dysfunction. And a young child has to endure this treatment wondering why it is happening or what they did wrong.
In Montgomery County, CASA Child Advocates is fortunate enough to be serving every abused or neglected child in need. However, nearly 4 children are entering foster care due to abuse and/or neglect in Montgomery County every week. In order to keep up and provide an Advocate for every child, we need more volunteers willing to give of their time, attention, and affection to help make a difference in a young life.
These statistics point to the dire need. We are determined to break the cycle of child abuse.
With your help, an abused or neglected child will not only survive, they can ultimately thrive. As a CASA volunteer, you can change outcomes for deserving children—and reduce these troubling statistics, one child at a time.
We are particularly seeking bilingual volunteers to help Spanish-speaking children and families. Sign up now. A child is waiting for you.