Focus on the Figures: Calif. Child Abuse and Neglect Rates in 2014

Focus on the Figures is a regular partnership between The Chronicle of Social Change and KidsData.org, a nonprofit dedicated to providing data on the health and well-being of California’s children.

In 2014, there were 496,972 reports (allegations) of child abuse and neglect in California. The rate of abuse and neglect reports, 54.6 per 1,000, is the highest its been since 1999.

Of those reports, 79,179 (or 16 percent), were substantiated (verified) by the state child welfare system. About two-thirds of verified cases were due to general neglect, which includes cases where the parent, guardian, or caregiver failed to provide adequate food, shelter, medical care, or supervision for the child, but no physical injury occurred. Neglect consistently has been the most common type of substantiated case statewide and in nearly all counties for which these data are available.

Kidsdata.org
Verified cases of abuse and neglect by type. Definition: Percentage of substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect for children under age 18, by type of abuse (e.g., 8.5% of substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect in California in 2014 were for physical abuse). Data Source: Webster, D., et al. California Child Welfare Indicators Project Reports, UC Berkeley Center for Social Services Research (May 2015). Footnote: A child is counted only once (per year, per county), in the category considered most severe. For more information on ‘Substantial Risk,’ please visit: http://www.dss.cahwnet.gov/lettersnotices/entres/getinfo/acl07/PDF/07-52.pdf. LNE (Low Number Event) refers to data that have been suppressed because there were fewer than 180 total cases. Image: Kidsdata.org

The upward trend in report rates has coincided with an increase in the number of youth in foster care. The foster care rolls in California have risen from 55,286 in 2012 to 62,097 in 2014. That increase accounts for about one-third of the total national increase in foster youths from 2012 to 2014.

As the rate of child abuse and neglect reports has risen, the rate of substantiation has dropped. California’s rate of substantiated cases of child abuse or neglect declined from 12.0 cases per 1,000 children in 1998 to 8.7 in 2014.

KidsData.org
Substantiated Cases of Child Abuse and Neglect: Definition: Rate of substantiated child abuse and neglect cases per 1,000 children under age 18.Data Source: Webster, D., et al. California Child Welfare Indicators Project Reports, UC Berkeley Center for Social Services Research (May 2015); Child Trends, analysis of data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, as cited on KIDS COUNT (Jun. 2015).Footnote: A child is counted only once (per year, per county). For rates, LNE (Low Number Event) refers to data that have been suppressed because there were fewer than 20 cases of child abuse and neglect. N/A means that data are not available. Image: KidsData.org

Children ages 0-5 make up nearly half of all substantiated cases of child abuse/neglect in California; they comprised 47 percent of all cases in 2014, up from 40 percent in 1998.

Statewide, child abuse and neglect cases disproportionately involve children of color, particularly African American/Black and American Indian/Alaska Native children. For more information on racial disproportionality in child welfare, see the Child Welfare Information Gateway or the Center for the Study of Social Policy.

CA_Disproportionate_2014
Child abuse and neglect cases by race/ethnicity. Definition: Rate of substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect per 1,000 children under age 18, by race/ethnicity. Data Source: Webster, D., et al. California Child Welfare Indicators Project Reports, UC Berkeley Center for Social Services Research (May 2015); Child Trends, analysis of data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, as cited on KIDS COUNT (Jun. 2015). Footnote: A child is counted only once (per year, per county). LNE (Low Number Event) refers to data that have been suppressed because there were fewer than 20 cases in the population group. N/A means that data are not available. Image: KidsData.org
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

John Kelly
About John Kelly 1135 Articles
John Kelly is editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change.