Child Abuse, Neglect At Record Levels: HHS Press Release/Sonny FWD

Tom Boland (
Fri, 17 Apr 1998 10:31:34 -0700 (PDT)

FWD via H. C. Sonny Covington  @  I CAN! America
427 St. John Street - Lafayette, LA  70501
(318) 235-7005  Fax 318-234-0953

-----Original Message-----
From: <>
Date: Friday, April 17, 1998 11:41 AM


     HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala today released new data showing
continued record high levels of child abuse and neglect in the
United States.  According to the new report, "Child Maltreatment
1996: Reports from the States to the National Child Abuse and
Neglect Data System," almost 1 million children were identified as
victims of abuse or neglect in 1996, and an estimated 1,077 children
died in 1996 as a result of abuse or neglect.

     April is National Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month.

     The results although slightly down from 1995, continue a long-
term trend, with total child abuse and neglect cases remaining in
the record-high range of 1 million for five years.

     "Last year, Congress passed and President Clinton signed into
law the historic Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, which makes
protecting the safety of children the paramount concern in adoption
and foster care," Secretary Shalala said.  "This month -- and every
month of the year -- states, caseworkers, and the courts should
rededicate themselves to making sure that we achieve the intent of
this critical law child abuse cannot be tolerated."

     The new law, enacted in November 1997, requires that child
safety be the highest priority when making service provision,
placement, and permanency planning decisions for children.  The law
reaffirms the importance of making reasonable efforts to preserve
and reunify families, but -- for the first time -- also specifies
instances when states are not required to make efforts to keep
children with their parents, such as when doing so places a child's
safety in jeopardy.  These new provisions give states important new
tools in their efforts to break the cycle of abuse within families.

     "This new law represents a real step forward and gives us an
unprecedented opportunity to reform the child welfare system,"
emphasized Olivia Golden, HHS Assistant Secretary for Children and

     HHS is consulting with states this spring on necessary
regulations under the new law.  Beginning in 1999, HHS will issue
annual reports evaluating the performance of all 50 states.

     The Clinton Administration is committed to promoting and
supporting policies and innovative programs that work to increase
children's safety and reduce children's risk of harm.  In addition
to the new law, HHS has granted child welfare waivers to 10 states
to pursue innovative strategies for improving state child welfare
systems:  California, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland,
Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Oregon.  As part of the
new law, HHS has authority to approve up to 10 additional waivers
for FY 1998 through 2002.

     To supplement these efforts, Secretary Shalala today also
announced a new campaign by the HHS Children's Bureau to encourage
community prevention efforts and to provide help to those who work
with children and families.  The "Prevention in Action" campaign
features a new web site which includes information and resources
about the problem of child abuse and how to help prevent it.  The
web site can be reached through  Hard copies
are available upon request from the National Clearinghouse on Child
Abuse and Neglect at 1-800-FYI-3366.

     According to the report released today:

     Parents are the chief perpetrators of child abuse and neglect.
     Nearly 80 percent of the cases involved abuse and neglect by
     parents, with an additional 11 percent involving other

     Among children who died due to abuse or neglect, very young
     children were most likely be killed, with children aged 3 and
     under accounting for three-quarters of all deaths.

     Fifty-two percent of maltreated children suffered neglect, 24
     percent physical abuse, 12 percent sexual abuse, 6 percent
     emotional abuse, 3 percent medical neglect and 16 percent other
     forms of maltreatment.  Some children suffered more than one
     type of maltreatment.

     More than half of the children were under 8 years old, while 28
     percent were younger than 4 years old.  Younger children were
     more likely than older children to be neglected, while older
     children were more likely than younger children to be
     physically, sexually or emotionally abused.

     Fifty-two percent of victims were girls and 48 percent were

     Fifty-three percent of all victims were white, 27 percent
     African-American, 11 percent Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander 4
     percent and 2 percent Native American.  African American and
     Native American children were abused and neglected at a rate
     almost twice their proportions in the national child

     The total number of children identified as victims of abuse or
neglect, based on validated case data, and the total number of
states reporting data for the last five years are as follows:

     Year           Number              States Reporting

     1992             992,617                48
     1993           1,018,692                47
     1994           1,011,628                48
     1995           1,000,402                49
     1996             969,018                47

     Copies of "Child Maltreatment 1996" will be available in mid-
April and can be obtained by calling the National Clearinghouse on
Child Abuse and Neglect Information at 1-800-FYI-3366.

Note:  HHS press releases are available on the World Wide Web at