U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Current Trends in Child Abuse Reporting and Fatalities: The Results of the 1993 Annual Fifty State Survey

NCJ Number
K McCurdy; D Daro
Date Published
23 pages
Data collected from all 50 States and the District of Columbia by the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse (NCPCA) on the number and characteristics of child abuse reports, the number of child abuse fatalities, and changes in the funding and scope of child welfare services suggest that the national rate of reporting and subtantiating child abuse cases may be leveling off.
In February 1994, the NCPCA sent a letter to federally appointed liaisons for child abuse and neglect in each State and the District of Columbia. A brief questionnaire accompanying the letter requested information on the actual number of children reported as alleged victims of maltreatment between 1991 and 1993, the number of substantiated victims, factors accounting for any changes in reporting levels, number of reported and substantiated cases by maltreatment type, number of confirmed child abuse fatalities, effect of substance abuse on caseloads and the creation of new programs to respond to the problem, and funding levels for child protective service (CPS) agencies. Over the 1991-1993 period, the national rate of reporting and substantiating child abuse cases appeared to decline somewhat. States with increased reporting primarily attributed the rise to public awareness or improved data collection methods rather than to an increase in the actual incidence of maltreatment. Whether this finding reflected stabilization in the rate of family violence or a CPS system stretched to its limit was unclear. Neglect represented the bulk of maltreatment cases. Many victims did not receive any treatment to offset the negative impact of abuse, and infants remained at high risk of death from abuse and neglect. Funding for child protective services increased in most States. Policy recommendations are offered that focus on the need to define maltreatment, consistent data collection methods, the importance of adequate treatment and prevention resources, and the impact of substance abuse on caseloads. 10 references, 5 endnotes, and 4 tables