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Child Abuse

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Child Abuse

Child abuse and neglect is frightfully high. As a country this is unacceptable. We need to come up with better ways to fight this "disease" before we destroy our children, our future.

An estimated 903,000 children across the country were victims of abuse or neglect in 2001, according to national data released by the Department of Health and Human Services. The statistics indicate that about 12.4 out of every 1,000 children were victims of abuse or neglect, a rate comparable to the previous year's victimization rate of 12.2 out of 1,000 children.

"A nation as compassionate as ours should ensure that no child is a victim of abuse or neglect. The number of children that are being abused and neglected this country is an unacceptable daily tragedy," HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said. "We must do more to protect our most vulnerable children. That's why President Bush has proposed an important new approach to give states the tools and resources they need to prevent abuse and care for these young victims."

As part of HHS' fiscal year 2004 budget request, the Bush Administration is proposing a new approach to protect children in the child welfare system. Under the plan, states would have the option of using some money now designated solely for foster care to support a range of abuse-preventive services and programs. The proposal provides the flexibility and sustained financial support necessary to build innovative programs for children and families aimed at preventing maltreatment and removal from home.

"Every time a child is abused or neglected, the whole human race suffers," said Wade F. Horn, Ph.D., assistant secretary for children and families. "President Bush's plan to prevent this terrible problem will point the way to happier lives for many children."

The rate of child neglect and abuse in 2001 was about 19 percent less than the rate in 1993, when maltreatment peaked at an estimated 15.3 out of every 1,000 children. As recently as 1998, the rate was 12.9 per 1,000 children. The rate dropped to 11.8 per 1,000 children in 1999 and then returned to 12.2 per 1,000 children in 2000.

This problem has, because of more resources and ability to come forward, gone down in the past few years. For the same reason in the mid - eighties and early nineties it was up. Before then few came forward, then it was encouraged and more did. In 1994, over 3 million (3,140,000) children were reported for child abuse and neglect to child protective service (CPS) agencies in the United States. This figure represents a 4.5% increase over the number of children reported in 1993. Experts attribute much of the recent increase in reporting to greater public awareness of and willingness to report child maltreatment, as well as changes in how states collected or defined a reportable act of maltreatment (Wiese & Daro, 1995). Currently, about 47 out of every 1,000 children are reported as victims of child maltreatment. Overall,



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