Focus on the Figures: Substantiation of Maltreatment, By Age

Every other week, The Chronicle of Social Change will feature one key indicator from Kidsdata, which offers comprehensive data about the health and well being of children across California.

“Substantiation” occurs when an allegation of child abuse and/or neglect prompts an investigation, and investigators are convinced by the evidence that such an act has occurred.

The rate of substantiated child abuse and neglect cases has been declining in California, meaning that there are fewer cases of substantiated child abuse/neglect per every 1,000 children in the population.

For example, there were 12 substantiated cases of child abuse/neglect for every 1,000 kids in California under age 18 in 1998, but in 2012, there were 8.9.

The graph below shows you, for all the substantiated cases of abuse and neglect in California in 2012, how many involved children in various age groups.

About a third of substantiated abuse and neglect in California involve children between one and five years old, with another 26 percent involving children between six and 10. The state’s age proportions among substantiated cases roughly reflect the national figures, although the Department of Health and Human Services uses different age groups.

Overall, rates of substantiated cases in the U.S. declined in 2010 and 2011, as did the total number of substantiated cases. Interestingly, the number of children involved in abuse and neglect investigations increased in 2011, up to 3,019,610 from 2,960,292 in 2010.

For more information on this and other key indicators related to California youths and the systems that serve them, click here to visit the Kidsdata website.

Substantiation by Age

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John Kelly
About John Kelly 1157 Articles
John Kelly is editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change.