National Child Abuse Prevention Month

According to the most recent Child Maltreatment Report, released by Administration for Children and Families in 2010, about 3.3 million referrals alleging child maltreatment were filed with child welfare agencies, involving 5.9 million children.

Children birth to 3 years old represented the largest group of confirmed child abuse and neglect victims. Caucasian children were victims of maltreatment in 44 percent of the cases, the most of any other race, but African American children were victimized at a higher rate. Most children (78 percent) were reported for neglect, while 18 percent suffered from physical abuse.

From all of those statistics, some could highlight a specific population most at risk, but child abuse and neglect is not specific to any one race, religion or community.

Also documented in the Child Maltreatment Report, an average of 1,560 children have died from child abuse and neglect in the United States each of the past five years. The victims vary in age, race and type of violence experienced.

As if the direct impact on children’s health, safety and well-being weren’t enough, the financial impact on the economy is staggering:

From AAP News:

“The total lifetime estimated financial costs associated with just one year of confirmed cases of child maltreatment (physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse and neglect) is $124 billion, according to a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”

All of these issues and more are highlighted in April, designated National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

First observed in 1983, the month is coordinated on the federal level by the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect within the Children’s Bureau. (The Children’s Bureau turns 100 this month and has numerous events and information related to child abuse scheduled for release this month listed on its website.)

Following and supporting the charge, numerous national, state and local organizations around the country are using this month to spread the word about the impact of child abuse on our families, communities and country.

This month, Safe Start will explore issues of children who are direct or indirectly victimized by violence in the home and in their communities, potentially having a negative impact on their development and well-being for years to come. We will also feature blog posts written by survivors of abuse, practitioners who work with the abused, advocates, and organizations involved in the issue. Through the blog, Facebook and Twitter we’ll looks at some of the leading programs and interventions to help both prevent and treat children who are exposed to violence.

We hope you’ll join us.

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